The Saints wanted a flag. Instead, Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith received a fine.
Smith led with the crown of his helmet while tackling Saints running back Alvin Kamara on third down in the Cowboys’ win last Thursday. It sent Kamara into the blue medical tent for a concussion check, and the Saints expressed their displeasure with the non-call afterward.
Referee Walt Anderson’s crew didn’t call an foul on Smith.
But the league has fined Smith $26,739, Todd Archer of ESPN reports. It’s the same amount the NFL fined Kareem Hunt earlier this season for unnecessary roughness when he ran through Broncos safety Justin Simmons, even though officials did not penalize Hunt.
Smith said Thursday he did not intend to hit Kamara in the head.
“It’s the last gladiator sport,” Smith said, via Archer. “As I was going to tackle him, he turned his body at the last second, and I hit him. I hit him. I put my arms out to hit him, and there was some contact. But, like I said, it’s the game that we love and definitely no intentions to play the game the wrong way. I’ve been taught well.”
Smith will appeal, per Archer.