The NFL will not fine Eagles safety Kurt Coleman for his hit on Austin Collie that knocked the Colts receiver out of Sunday's game, according to a league spokesman.
"Because the helmet-to-helmet contact was a result of Collie being driven toward Coleman by Mikell's legal hit, there will be no fine for this action," a statement read. "Though there will be no fine issues for this instance, the play was properly officiated. Officials have been instructed to err on the side of the player safety, and when in doubt, will penalize in situations such as this for unnecessary roughness."
Is the NFL’s scrutiny of hits to the head taking away from the game?
The NFL is reviewing Kurt Coleman's hit on wide receiver Austin Collie Sunday, the league said.
Coleman, a rookie seventh-round draft pick, said the referees made a "good call," but said he has not yet heard from the league about the hit.
"They have a harder time out there than anybody," Coleman said for the referees. "I think the refs made the right call and that’s for the league to decide whether or not they’re going to fine me or whatever."
Coleman and fellow safety Quintin Mikell both hit Collie has he tried to bring in a pass, with Coleman drawing a penalty for hitting a defenseless receiver in the head. Coleman led with his shoulder and appeared to hit Collie's shoulder first. His helmet hit Collie's as he followed through. But the referees said they saw Coleman hit Collie in the head with his shoulder. They considered Collie a defenseless receiver because the pass was incomplete -- receivers are afforded that protection until they complete a catch and become a runner, the referees explained after the game. (There was some debate as to whether Collie had, in fact, caught the ball by the time of the hit, but the referees immediately ruled incomplete).
"I could see how the refs went through the play, because they were going by the rule," Coleman said. "It was just a freak accident the way it all went down."
Coleman said he prayed for Collie as the receiver lay on the ground. As a freshman at Ohio State, Coleman made a routine practice tackle that left a teammate paralyzed after the receiver hit his head on the ground. Coleman said he thought back to that moment, and prayed, as medical personnel examined Collie.
"I prayed for him. ... I said several prayers," Coleman said. "I kind of had a little bit of a flashback to my freshman year in college, but I didn’t want to think that negatively."
Earlier, head coach Andy Reid seemed to see both sides of the issue, defending his player, but saying the NFL was doing the right thing in trying to cut down on dangerous hits.
"I don't see what else he could have done differently," Reid said of Coleman.
"I’m behind what the league’s trying to do," Reid said. He later added, "In the heat of the battle, I can’t sit here and tell you that I’m the calmest guy in the world when I see those things. But when you step back and you look at it, I understand the big picture things."