October 5, 2011

Niles Paul Fined $20,000 For Hustling

By - Todd Stepp

Washington Redskins gunner Niles Paul was fined $20,000 by the NFL today for his hit on Austin Pettis of the St. Louis Rams this past weekend.

Now, I'm all for fines when players break rules and need to be punished. However, fining a guy for blowing up a defenseless punt returner should be a totally different thing.

Photo by: Seth Periman
Austin Pettis had ample opportunity to call for a fair catch. In fact, if I'm returning punts for the Rams, I call for a fair catch every punt - you think those guys are good enough to block gunners who can throw out a 4.30 forty? Pettis didn't call for a fair catch though. Instead, he caught the ball against his chest with his forearms, bent his knees so he could absorb the ball and BAM. Lights out.

So here's Niles Paul, blazing down the field, Austin Pettis' #18 in his cross hairs. Paul lowers his shoulder to hit Pettis in the chest and what does the punt returner do? He bends his knees, semi-squatting down to catch ball - making that target of #18 become Pettis' facemask.


$20,000 later, Niles Paul is the bad guy.

You can watch the video (so long as the NFL doesn't catch this on YouTube) here.

To the NFL, I say this: Fine Kenny Britt for getting arrested. Fine the guys getting DUIs. Fine players and coaches alike for criticizing the officials. But come on, don't fine a guy for playing hard. The last thing we need is someone getting hurt, but don't put this on Paul. Put it on Pettis for not calling a fair catch.


  1. Totally agree with you. The NFL has gotten ridiculous with the unnecessary roughness calls. IT'S FOOTBALL! There's SUPPOSE TO BE BIG HITS! If the players don't wanna be drilled, they need to find another line of work.

  2. I agree with you in general, but not in this particular instance. Paul CLEARLY launches himself head-first at Pettis, and the league just isn't going to allow that anymore. I'm a Redskins fan and I still agreed with the call.

  3. He led with his SHOULDER, not his head Jeremy. Bad call by the officials, and bad call by the league for the 20k fine.

  4. If the National Hockey League wasn't already using it, the NFL could just start going by "NHL." No Hitting League.

  5. The league has these rules in place now to protect the players. They may not like them, but its for their own good.

  6. The problem is, the new rules are too open for interpretation. What one official deems unnecessary roughness, another does not. There shouldn't be such a gray area to the rule.

    Also, I understand the need to wanna protect the QBs and all, but it shouldn't be to the point where they basically can't be touched, which is what it's gotten to.

    In the end, this is still football. These guys knew what they were getting into when their momma's signed the permission slip. If you don't wanna be hit, stick to baseball.