Sunday’s blowout loss to the Packers included an early exit for linebacker Luke Kuechly, who inadvertently made contact with a game official. Coach Ron Rivera doesn’t accept the decision, or the explanation that he received for the move.
“I disagreed with it,” Rivera said Monday, via David Newton of ESPN.com. “I disagreed with the explanation I was given. I looked at the tape and I felt the tape agreed with what I felt.”
The league’s position is that officials should be protected from all physical contact, including but not limited to punching, pushing, shoving, grabbing, or other intimidating or interfering contact — and that any offenses against officials are strictly prohibited.
“To tell you the truth, I didn’t know who was grabbing me,” Kuechly said Sunday regarding the incident that got him ejected, via Newton. “I was trying to get out of there a little bit. You’ve just got to stay calm in those situations and just walk away and let it take care of itself.”
The situation took care of itself with Kuechly taking an early trip to the locker room. The next question is whether the NFL will take money out of Kuechly’s future pay.
“No,” Rivera said Monday regarding whether Kuechly should be fined. “Not at all. Zero chance.”
But since the NFL believes the ejection was proper because even inadvertent contact is prohibited, a fine would seem to be appropriate under that same reasoning. Kuechly will get a preliminary answer on that point — subject to appeal — later this week.