Darrel Young Takes Aim At League Fines: ‘It’s Not Football Anymore’
ASHBURN – After receiving a fine for what the NFL deemed an illegal block on New York Giants linebacker Spencer Paysinger, Washington Redskins fullback Darrel Young has taken an issue with the way the league reprimands its players.
Young attempted to set a block during a punt return during the opening week – one that was initially deemed a legal and safe hit at the time and was not contentious until a league review. He claimed he led with his shoulder, did not leave his feet and did not leave Paysinger in a defenseless position, which was evident when Paysinger, a rookie, walked off the field.
Still, Young was fined $15,000 for the hit, which he has since appealed but not received a verdict. Three other Redskins have been fined since then: linebackers Rob Jackson and Perry Riley and receiver Niles Paul, each of whom were flagged for hits delivered against St. Louis on Oct. 2. Paul was assessed $20,000; the linebackers each were hit for $15,000. All have since appealed.
When the Redskins hosted Arizona the following week, shortly after Young was notified of the fine, he found himself in a similar situation on a punt return. He chose not to block the Cardinals player, leading to a tackle on returner Brandon Banks and a lecture from the coaching staff.
“I had a perfect shot to kill a guy in the Arizona game and I pull up and he ends up making the tackle, and I get yelled at,” Young said. “Is it worth $15,000? It doubles the next time. I’ll take getting yelled at for two minutes any day over $30,000. Then it triples and quadruples and stuff like that.
“You can see it on film. I stopped. I just waited, and it kind of made me look soft. People criticized me. At the end of the day, if anyone wants to pay my fine, I’ll gladly go hit people.”
Young also took aim at the fine on Jackson, which was levied for unnecessary roughness when he brought down quarterback Sam Bradford after the ball was thrown. “You let him go and that’s a missed opportunity for you to get a stat, [and] everyone knows this league is about production” when it comes to negotiating a new contract.
And as for the fines on Riley and Paul, which were for helmet-to-helmet hits on Austin Pettis, a defenseless returner, Young suggested Pettis should have called for the fair catch. “If you get hit three times, there’s something wrong with that guy, not with us. I don’t know if he’s concussed or what after Lorenzo [Alexander tackled] him the first time.”
Young made clear he’s all for player safety, and he’s happy the new collective bargaining agreement will provide health care for players after they’re out of the league. But the proliferation of the fines may be too much.
“I think when you look at it from that standpoint, it’s not football anymore,” Young said. “It’s football until someone gets hit, and everything else comes into play. Then it’s a different type of ballgame until someone gets a fine. History shows that. Guys are getting, I feel, fined a little bit too much, but I don’t control that. I just play football. If they’re going to send me a FedEx [with a fine inside], I’m going to appeal every time.”