Texans linebacker Tim Dobbins said the NFL shouldn’t fine him after he was flagged for a helmet-to-chin hit that caused Bears quarterback Jay Cutler to suffer a concussion on Sunday night.
The NFL disagrees with Dobbins’ assessment. Strongly.
Dobbins has been fined $30,000 for his hit on Cutler, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. That’s a more expensive fine than players usually get for roughing the passer, which suggests that the league office thought Dobbins’ hit was more flagrant than your run-of-the-mill roughing the passer penalty. (Or it could suggest that the NFL decided to make an example of Dobbins because he had the misfortune of committing his penalty against a high-profile player on the most-watched game of the week.)
An interesting element of Dobbins’ argument is that Cutler had crossed the line of scrimmage before he threw his pass, which means that Cutler was breaking the rules by throwing a forward pass, and that Dobbins could credibly say he thought Cutler was a runner. But the league’s point of view is that Cutler was in a passing posture at the point when Dobbins launched head-first into him, and because of that, his paycheck is going to be a lot lighter.