It was baffling that the league chose not to fine Eagles cornerback Asante Samuel for the helmet-to-helmet hit that knocked out Vikings receiver Sidney Rice Tuesday night. NFL spokesman Randall Lui explained to Pro Football Talk why Samuel, who would have been a repeat offender, was not fined:
“Because the receiver had completed the catch with two feet down and possession of the ball, he had protection from a hit to the head only from a defender who launches. Samuel did not ‘launch’ as defined by our current rules because the ball of his right foot was on the ground when contact with the receiver was made. Rule 12, Section 2, Article 8(h) Note states: ‘Launching is defined as springing forward and upward by a player who leaves his feet to make contact on the receiver.’ [NFL executive V.P. of football operations] Ray Anderson confirmed that the NFL Competition Committee will review the rule and the definition of ‘launch’ in the off-season with the anticipation that this type of action will be a foul in future seasons.”
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