FLOWERY BRANCH – Falcons fullback and special-teams player Keith Smith had his fine for $87,418 overturned on appeal by the NFL and NFLPA committee.
It was the biggest fine given to a player this season and was on a play that didn’t draw a penalty on the field. It was termed as discipline for unnecessary roughness.
It was the first play in the 20-6 loss to the Lions on Sept. 24, and it occurred on a kickoff return that the Falcons’ Mike Hughes gained 10 yards from the 11 to the 21. In the appeal letter, Smith expressed the speed of the play and the lack of intent to use his helmet.
“I didn’t really agree with the fine, either,” Smith said. “That was just our whole argument with the appeal. We were just trying to justify the fact that a lot of these hits happen so fast. Just even outside of the kickoff-return hit, me being a fullback, a lot of times your head gets involved into the hit naturally. It’s easy to slow down things to slow motion, but in reality these happen so quick.”
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