NFL Senior Vice President of Officiating Walt Anderson said after Sunday night’s game that it was the league officiating office that made the decision to eject 49ers linebacker Dre Greenlaw for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert.
Anderson said after the game that the officials threw the flag on the field but the officiating office decided to kick Greenlaw out of the game because of the seriousness of the foul.
“What the officials had was a flag for a player lowering his head and making forcible contact and Rule 19 allows us when a flag is thrown to examine the play and if we feel the action is flagrant then the rule allows us to disqualify the player and that’s what we determined,” Anderson said, via the pool report. “It was a flagrant act.”
Anderson said several factors went into the decision to eject Greenlaw.
“The timing, the manner in which the player had an opportunity to make other choices and to make a different decision. Those all go into factoring whether something is flagrant. Those are just some of the factors that are considered,” Anderson said. “The runner was a downed runner. He was already down by contact. That certainly plays into taking a look at the actions taken by the defender. If he had other choices in terms of his actions, we felt like the actions he took were flagrant in nature and that was the reason for disqualification.”
Anderson said the decision had nothing to do with Herbert being a quarterback and Greenlaw would have been ejected if he had put that hit on a running back.
“It would have been the same if it had been any other ballcarrier,” Anderson said. “Another thing is, whether fouls are called or not, fouls have subsequent action or not on game day, players are always subject to additional discipline during the week and all personal fouls are reviewed by the league each and every week and additional discipline is always possible up to and including suspension.”
If Greenlaw is suspended, he will find out within the next couple of days.