|Rodgers-Cromartie leaves his feet and hits Leftwich under his chin. (NFL.com)|
When the Eagles and Steelers squared off in Week 1 of preseason action, Byron Leftwich took a nasty shot (or shiver?) from Philly cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie that drew a well-deserved flag for a late hit. Literally the only person who thought the shot was OK was DRC himself, and now the league's sided with the rest of us, fining the cornerback $21,000 for his hit on Leftwich.
The NFL confirmed that fine, as first reported by Pro Football Talk.
“Twenty-one thousand. I ain't even got that," Rodgers-Cromartie said, via CSNPhilly.com.
We assume he was joking, but there's really not much funny about the way he launched himself into Leftwich. On the bright side, it doesn't sound like Cro will be laying any of these hits on other players in the near future.
“I won't hit him no more, I'll tell you that much,” Rodgers-Cromartie said. “It's not even a vicious hit... shoot, he got up right from it. I mean, I'll say I left my feet. I can understand that. I can understand a fine coming.”
As Michael David Smith notes at PFT, the $21 grrrr is a five percent increase over what DRC would've gotten last year. That's because the new CBA includes a provision to increase those fines five percent each year beginning in 2012.
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"The designated minimum fines will increase by 5 percent for the 2012 League Year, and each League Year thereafter during the term of this Agreement," the CBA reads.
But maybe a fine wasn't enough? Chris Mortensen of ESPN reports that the fine is "not sitting well" with folks around the league, and "one prominent coach thought this would merit a suspension."
That's not too far off. Watch the play again -- or just look at the screenshot above, as captured from NFL.com by our own Ryan Wilson -- and you'll see that Cro basically hits the checklist for every single thing relating to an illegal hit.
The prime logic there is that DRC launched himself at Leftwich, and even though the Steelers quarterback might've been on the move out of the pocket (in that way it's reminiscent of James Harrison's hit on Colt McCoy last year), this was absolutely something he could've avoid.
One has to wonder what book Cro will be quoting next after using the Bible to justify his decision to nearly decapitate Leftwich.
"Regrets? We're playing football, man,” Rodgers-Cromartie said. “The Bible said don't live a life of regret.”