Buccaneers safety Dashon Goldson lost almost half a million dollars because of fines and a suspension for illegal hits last season. He got the message.
Goldson says he’s sick of the NFL fining him for leading with his helmet, and so he has hired a private tackling coach to teach him the fundamentals of tackling with the shoulders.
“I said this can’t be cool because every time I hit somebody I’m getting a fine,” Goldson told Anwar Richardson of Yahoo Sports. “At that point, I realized I have to figure something out.”
This will be music to Roger Goodell’s ears. Goodell has made clear that he hopes fines will result in players thinking about the way they tackle. Goodell wants to put an end to players leading with their helmets, something Goldson has been doing for years.
Goldson added, however, that he believes his reputation as a hard hitter has served him well in his NFL career, including getting him a five-year, $41.25 million contract last year, and he needs to be careful not to change the way he tackles too drastically.
“This is what got me my deal. This is what got me my name,” Goldson said. “This is how you make a name for yourself in this league. You set yourself apart by standing out. What I was doing was making a hit. Just playing hard and playing football the way it’s supposed to be played. I’m hearing fans and coaches coming up to me after the game and say, ‘I love the way you play, don’t change the way you play.’ This is after I’m being fined. They’re not being fair because it’s not their money they’re losing, but at the same time, they understand that it comes with the territory, what the safety position is all about, how you play the game. Now they’re trying to take that away from me. It’s the way I make my money. The way I feed my family. Just the player that I am.”
If Goldson can continue to be the player he is, but lower his target and lead with his shoulder when he hits, he’ll save himself a lot of money by hiring a private tackling tutor.