When Bernard Pollard tweeted out Wednesday morning about is $42,000 fine for his hit Sunday on Houston Texans receiver Andre Johnson, the tone showed that he was unhappy.
Just how unhappy was revealed after Wednesday's practice when he met with the media.
“Flag football. That's what they want. For us as a defense, we're can change who we are. We're not gonna change the way we play. It sucks, because it was a football play,” Pollard said. “He was in-bounds. He went up for a catch. I don't know what a defender is supposed to do.”
Pollard was not flagged on the play, and said in his mind, it was a clean hit, as he tried to separate the ball from Johnson. The pass was initially ruled incomplete, and then overturned on replay. Pollard says defensive players are becoming an endangered species, and that if the NFL wants to curb the violent hits, just take the defense off the field.
“For us as players, it stinks because our intent is to play football. Our intent is to protect the field behind us,” Pollard said. “Our intent is if we're supposed to be safeties over the top for our corners, you've got a great receiver going up for a catch. Nobody's intention was to hurt him. Nobody wanted a concussion, nobody wanted anything. Our job is to defend the grass behind us.
“We hope he's OK, but if you don't want us to play defense, then don't call us defense and take us off the field. Just let them go against air and see what that does to the ratings for this game.”
Pollard, who was fined $10,000 for a late hit in preseason against Washington, said he would be scared to even think about what type of discipline the league might have given him had he delivered the type of hit that teammate Kendall Wright took in the game from the Texans' Kareem Jackson. Jackson was also fined $42,000 for that hit.
Pollard, who is appealing the fine, was asked if he would have gotten a six-figure fine and/or a suspension agreed that that probably would have been the case. But he said the $42,000 was far too much.
“$42,000, that's a lot of money. I've been fined $75 (thousand). It sucks. They take the money. I want to know where the money's going. They say it goes to a charity. I want to know what charity it goes to,” he said.
Despite the fines, Pollard said he won't change the way he plays the game.
“I'm doing the same thing. I'm not going to change the way I play football. It stinks, because the bad part about it is for us as players, for the fans, for the coaches, for the refs, there's a lot of gray areas,” Pollard said. “So they don't know what to call and what not to call. There was no call. Now you come back and you fine me $42,000. For what? For me to go make a play that was legal.
“They said I did everything right, but it was a defenseless receiver, I guess.”
The NFL office sent the following explanation to TitanInsider, which said Pollard “Hit a defenseless receiver in the head or neck area (in this case, with his shoulder).”
Coach Mike Munchak said he thought the play was a legal hit, but knew a fine could happen.
“I was hoping he wouldn’t be. They didn’t call it during the game because they thought he hit him with his shoulder. I guess the assumption is his shoulder hit him in the upper part of the body and they want to encourage you not to do that,” Munchak said. “I assumed there may be a consequence. I knew the league was going to take a good look at it, no doubt, they look at all those things so as far as dollar amount. We’re not involved in that, so I have no idea where they come up with those numbers. It’s unfortunate. He’s playing to be physical. We’ve just got to be smart and we’ve just got to keep lowering our hits so we don’t have those things happen.”
Tennessee Titans receiver Kendall Wright was held out of practice with a headache on Wednesday.
Wright was fine on Sunday and Monday, according to Coach Mike Munchak, but had a headache, most likely as a result of the he hit took from Kareem Jackson in Houston on Sunday. Jackson was fined $42,000 for the hit.
Linebacker Zach Brown was sick on Wednesday and did not practice Wednesday. Defensive tackle Sammie Hill remains day-to-day with a sore ankle that he injured Sunday.
David Stewart was rested with his sore calf, while Shonn Greene is out after having his knee scoped on Monday.