GREEN BAY – Nick Perry thought he might get a FedEx envelope from the NFL offices on Wednesday , and he did. But while the Green Bay Packers rookie outside linebacker might have thought a fine was coming for his hit on Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, there’s no way he was expecting to find the number he did on the letter.
Perry confirmed after practice Wednesday that he had indeed been fined by the league for the hit, and after initially saying he didn’t want to talk about the amount, he later admitted that it was $15,000. Perry then said he intended to appeal.
“(The NFL said) I led with the crown of my head. For that, I got fined,” Perry said. “I’ve got to be more focused on making a play without the head.”
Watching the replay, it appeared Perry had his head up and, if anything, led with his facemask. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers said during his weekly radio show on 540 ESPN and ESPNWisconsin.com on Tuesday afternoon that he thought the sheer force with which Perry hit Luck, because he had a free run at the Colts rookie QB, made the hit look worse than it actually was.
“When I saw it live it looked like it was a clean hit,” Rodgers said. “I will tell you in my opinion and take it for what it is: I think the flag was thrown because of the way it looked. When (Luck) got hit his head snapped back so hard, I think it looked worse than it actually was. It was Nick Perry who weighs 270 pounds with a hit that was in the (allowed) zone, and I don’t think if you look at the replay was with the crown of his helmet.
“It basically just looked bad because he got a free run of about six yards of space and (Luck’s) head whipped back pretty hard. That’s why I think the penalty was thrown.
Rodgers also said that it might be a good idea for the NFL to use replay review on such plays to determine if the penalty is warranted. Then again, considering the fine, clearly the NFL thought the call was correct.
“Whether you can review those plays down the line, I think you really have to think about that. A 15-yard penalty is a big assessment and one that often leads to a scoring possession and it’s a judgment call,” Rodgers said. “They have been reviewing a lot of judgment calls and you wonder how much it opens up if you can review that, like pass interference. (Packers cornerback) Sam Shields would definitely be on board.
“(Using replay review) is an interesting thought and I don’t think it would be bad. The league reviews all those plays to see if there is discipline on them (anyway). You might as well do it on game day as well. What was the score when that play occurred?”
The Packers had a 14-0 lead at the time of Perry’s hit, which forced a fumble by Luck that linebacker D.J. Smith recovered at the Indianapolis 17-yard line. Had Perry not been flagged, the Packers likely would have extended their lead with 11:23 left in the first half. As it was, the Packers had a 21-3 lead at the break.
“That’s a tough one,” defensive coordinator Dom Capers said on Monday. “I mean, he came so clean and he hit him with such velocity, and I’m sure what they’re going to say is he hit him with the crown of his helmet probably. So, the only thing you can tell a guy is he has to turn his head and try to get his shoulder in there. But when you’re coming full speed around there, he did hit him in the shoulder area. It was a vicious collision, as you saw the ball come out. It’s just really too bad because you design things and they work the way you design them and the ball comes out and we’re going to have the ball inside the 15-yard line.”
Asked what he should have done differently on the play, Perry replied, “I’ve just got to be smarter with the way I wrap up. You know, it’s hard, because I felt like I did the right thing by getting him down but it wasn’t good enough. There’s a better way to approach it.
“My job is to get the quarterback down and make sacks and be an all-around player but, nevertheless, things like this happen given that we’ve had issues in the past with helmet-to-helmet hits and hard collisions. (I’ve) just got to be more focused on those types of things.”
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