Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Dashon Goldson may have gotten a reprieve from a one-game suspension for a helmet-to-helmet hit on New Orleans Saints running back Darren Sproles, but he didn’t get any breaks from Drew Brees.
Goldson was suspended by the NFL on Monday after hitting Sproles at the end of an incomplete pass during Sunday’s game with the Saints.
The suspension came one week after he was fined $30,000 for a hit to a defenseless player in the season opener with the New York Jets.
But his suspension was overturned Wednesday and Goldson was fined $100,000 instead for a repeat violation of the player safety rules.
“I know he has had a lot of those,” Brees said after Wednesday’s practice. “He certainly has no regard for the rules in the middle (of the field). He is going after guys heads ... you can see it.”
Goldson’s hit was one of three personal foul calls the Bucs drew in the second quarter with defensive end Adrian Clayborn and safety Ahmad Black also delivering helmet-to-helmet blows.
Brees took a violent hit from Clayborn on a sack and Black crunched Saints tight end Jimmy Graham while being dragged to the ground by another defender after he couldn’t bring in a pass from Brees over the middle.
“It was obvious they were going at his head,” Brees said. “I have no sympathy for that. I care for those guys, and I don’t want to see that happen to our guys.
“I know the rules and I know it is tough playing the safety position in the middle,” he added. “Things happen fast, but then again, there are some instances where it is pretty obvious a guy was going for another guy’s head. That happened on at least two occasions in our game.”
The NFL’s decision was announced by Matt Birk, who handles appeals of discipline of on-field punishment for players for the league and NFL Players Association.
Goldson was suspended for flagrant and repeat violations of NFL safety rules prohibiting hits to the head and neck area of defenseless players. He will not be allowed to play in Sunday’s game against New England.
The hit on Sproles was Goldson’s fifth violation for unnecessary roughness since 2011.
Birk upheld the for another Goldson helmet-to-helmet hit in the opener against Jets tight end Jeff Cumberland.
Commissioner Roger Goodell said he had not yet seen Birk’s decision, but noted that Goldson received a “substantial fine” that shows “a violation of the rule has consequences.”
“Players are adapting to the rules and techniques,” Goodell said, adding “the culture doesn’t change overnight.”
Goldson was an All-Pro last season with San Francisco, helping the 49ers reach the Super Bowl. He joined Tampa Bay as a free agent, signing a five-year, $41.25 million contract.
If the seventh-year pro’s suspension had been upheld it would have cost Goldson $264,705 in salary.
They’ve been flagged for six personal fouls — five for helmet-to-helmet contact and the other for a late hit on Jets quarterback Geno Smith.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.