The NFL hit Bernard Pollard hard in the wallet Wednesday morning with a $42,000 fine for his hit on Andre Johnson in Sunday's loss to the Texans.
So on Wednesday afternoon during his media session, Pollard fired back at the league with a hard shot of his own.
“For us as players, it stinks because our intent is to play football. Our intent is to protect the field behind us,” Pollard said via TitanInsider. “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 has a point. The violent collisions that the NFL thrives on and even markets at times is one of the things that draws big ratings. Big ratings, of course, draws advertisers, which draws money to the league.
But as of now the league is having it both ways, trying to legislate questionable hits out of the game, while at the same time knowing that the violent collisions are a big part of why pro football has surpassed baseball and basketball as the country's most popular sport.
And guys like Pollard are pawns in the matter.
“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.”
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Terry McCormick covers the Titans for TitanInsider.com