New Orleans Saints running back Darren Sproles said Tampa Bay Bucs safety Dashon Goldson tried to hurt him when he delivered a helmet-to-helmet blow to Sproles in the second quarter of last week’s game.
Speaking with reporters after Thursday’s practice, Sproles said: “He tried to hurt me on the play. ... But he didn’t, so it’s all good.”
Sproles, who was trying to catch a pass from Drew Brees when he was struck, said Goldson’s history shows he “tries ... a lot of dirty hits. But that’s football, though.”
Sproles’ comments echoed those of Brees, who spoke out Wednesday after Goldson’s one-game suspension for repeated violations of NFL safety rules was overturned. He was fined $100,000 instead.
Goldson was also fined $30,000 in Week 1 for a hit on New York Jets tight end Jeff Cumberland. Goldson drew an unnecessary roughness penalty for striking Sproles. It was his fifth such penalty since 2011.
Meanwhile, Bucs safety Ahmad Black told Tampa reporters Thursday he was fined $21,000 for a late hit on Saints tight end Jimmy Graham. Black hit Graham as he was being tackled from behind by a defender after an incomplete pass.
Saints rookie safety Kenny Vaccaro said he received words of support and more from many fans after he was fined $7,875 last week for his Week 1 hit against Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan.
Vaccaro was penalized and subsequently fined for hitting Ryan, who slid down and gave himself up after scrambling for a first down.
“A lot of fans reached out on Twitter,” Vaccaro said Thursday. “Some offered to pay (the fine) for me. I don’t know if they would have, but I couldn’t let anybody do that. It was my fine, but it means a lot for them to back me like that.”
The Saints made only one change to Thursday’s practice report as defensive end Glenn Foster (ankle) was limited after not working Wednesday.
Not participating for the second straight day were RB Mark Ingram (toe), G Jahri Evans (hamstring), S Roman Harper (knee), NT Brodrick Bunkley (calf), DE Tom Johnson (hamstring) and S Isa Abdul-Quddus (ankle).
DE Tyrunn Walker (knee) was limited again Thursday as the Saints continued preparing for Sunday’s game with the Arizona Cardinals.
Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald did not participate in practice for the second straight day on Thursday.
Fitzgerald has a hamstring injury that limited his snaps in Sunday’s 25-21 win against the Detroit Lions.
Also not practicing Thursday were LB Kevin Minter (hamstring) and RB Rashard Mendenhall (toe). Minter, a rookie, is a former LSU player.
TE Rob Housler (ankle) was limited.
Cardinals coach Bruce Arians is getting his first shot as a full-time head coach after going 9-3 as interim coach for the Indianapolis Colts while Chuck Pagano was being treated for cancer last fall.
The 60-year-old Arians, who was named NFL Coach of the Year for his work in helping the Colts reach the playoffs, was on the Saints’ staff in 1996 when he coached tight ends for Jim Mora.
“I never thought I’d have the opportunity to be a head coach, and to be able to go back to the places I was an assistant at is always very special,” Arians said of returning to New Orleans on Sunday.
“He’s done a great job offensively wherever he’s been,” Saints coach Sean Payton said. “Clearly, in his role last year in Indianapolis, he did a fantastic job and is well deserving of a head coaching job.”
In addition to cornerbacks Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu and Minter, who all played at LSU, the Cardinals have three assistant coaches with Baton Rouge ties.
Running backs coach Stump Mitchell was the head coach at Southern University (2010-12), while quarterbacks coach Freddie Kitchens (2000) and offensive line assistant Larry Zierlein (1993-94) previously worked at LSU.
Saints quarterback Luke McCown and wife Katy welcomed their sixth child — a girl they named Leah Denise — last Saturday morning.
The baby was due on Oct. 1, but called an audible and arrived two weeks early — just a few hours before the Saints’ chartered plane departed for Tampa.
Former Saints cornerback Reggie Jones will make an appearance at the Saints Hall of Fame Museum before Sunday’s game from 10-11:15 a.m.
The museum, located at Gate B on the Plaza level of the Superdome, is open with no admission charge to ticket holders for three hours before and 45 minutes after each home game.
Advocate sportswriter Ramon Antonio Vargas contributed to this report.
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