Falcons strong safety William Moore, the enforcer on the team’s defense, has racked up more than $50,000 in fines this season and is expecting another fine on Thursday.
Moore has been fined three times this season. He was also fined for a hit on Tampa Bay running back Earnest Graham in 2010 and for a hit on Seattle receiver Doug Baldwin in 2011.
He was called for a personal foul on a helmet-to-helmet hit against Seattle wide receiver Golden Tate in the first quarter of the 33-10 loss to the Seahawks at the Georgia Dome Sunday.
Moore plans to appeal the anticipated fine.
As the fine’s mount, Moore doesn’t want to find himself classified by the league office as a dirty player.
He’s been fined for hits in games against New Orleans ($21,000), New England ($15,750) and Arizona ($15,750). That’s a total of $52,500 this season. The New Orleans and Arizona fines were for using the crown of his helmet.
“I can’t control what they call on the field,” Moore said. “I just will continue to play football and run to the ball. Whatever happens, happens.”
Moore was careful not to antagonize the league office, because he believes he has some valid appeals.
“I hope the NFL looks at it from a player’s stand point,” Moore said. “We are out there playing ball. We don’t try to go after offensive players. We are not trying to play dirty. We are just playing football.”
On the Tate play, Moore appeared to line up his target before going in for the hit.
“He brought his leverage down,” Moore said. “I was just playing football.”
When the play was shown on the replay screen, the fans booed the flag heartily. But Moore is anticipating some mail from the league office.
“No doubt about it,” Moore said. “There was a flag. I look forward to reading the letter about that. I’ll deal with it when that happens.
“I look to appeal it like every one of them. I’m going to play every week. We’ll deal with them (the appeals) at the end of the season. My agent has been doing an excellent job getting back to me and keeping me posted. They are working on it.”
Moore, who went to the Pro Bowl last season as an alternate, entered the game as the Falcons leading tackler. He had 75, according to coaches’ film review statistics. He was listed with six tackles against Seattle.
“William knows that I’m in his corner 100 percent,” free safety Thomas DeCoud said. “When they threw that flag, I told him that wasn’t the best call and to keep playing. He has to keep doing what he’s doing. He has to keep being a physical player. I’m going to always be in his corner.”
Moore has some support from head coach Mike Smith, who’s not worried about Moore being tagged as a dirty player.
“Absolutely not,” Smith said, when asked if he was concerned about the fines and possible perception of Moore’s play. “William Moore is not a dirty football player. He doesn’t go out targeting players.”
Smith admitted that with all of the recent rule changes in the name of player safety, that Moore and the coaching staff have more work to complete.
“He plays the game very aggressively,” Smith said. “We need to continue to work on targets. What I mean by targets is targeting the strike zone. That’s what we teach and that’s what we coach here. That is above the knee and below the shoulder.”
The Falcons are also working on Moore’s crown of the helmet fines.
“The other thing you’re talking about is seeing what you hit,” Smith said. “If you see what you hit, then you will not use the crown of your helmet.
“Sometimes, those crown of the helmet (plays) are unavoidable when players go lower, it is unavoidable, unfortunately. But it is a good rule. We always talk about player safety and safety is first and foremost. That’s an edict that comes down from the very top up there in New York.”
Moore is mindful of the reduced target area.
“William has had to learn,” defensive coordinator Mike Nolan said. “You have got to look at your target now. That is a great rule. It is putting your head down that gets (players) hurt.”