The Dallas Cowboys activated linebacker Cameron Lawrence from their practice squad for the very first time this past Sunday night. And against the Washington Redskins, Lawrence made a huge impact on special teams. Now the NFL has made a similar impact to the rookie’s pocketbook…to the tune of $21,000.
On the play in question, Lawrence made a pivotal block on Redskins’ cornerback David Amerson that sprang Cowboys wideout Dwayne Harris for a 90-yard kick-off return. Amerson suffered a concussion on what the league is calling a blindside block. You can watch that big return and the block in question here: http://www.nfl.com/videos/dallas-cowboys/0ap2000000262414/Cowboys-90-yd-kickoff-return
Lawrence will appeal the fine that is almost equivalent to one entire game check for him. The undrafted free agent out of Mississippi State signed on with the team for the league minimum, which is $405,000. That breaks down to roughly $24K a game…and that’s before taxes!
I’m not sure I totally agree with this fine. For one, there was no penalty called for this block at the time of the play. Secondly, it appeared to me that the defender was turning into Lawrence at the time of the hit making him visible at least in his peripheral vision. Finally, there didn’t appear to be any malice on the part of Lawrence. $21k is a hefty fine for a no-call.
The Cowboys are also expected to hear from the league about a late hit by safety Barry Church on Sunday night. Church made a tackle on quarterback Robert Griffin III while he was heading out of bounds. When asked about the tackle, here’s what Church told ESPNDallas.com:
“I definitely thought it was a gray area. I felt like he was still in bounds on one but they made the call and I’ve just got to live with it … From now on I’ll probably just try to assist the quarterback out of bounds, just usher him out of bounds instead of putting my hands on him.”
That was one of two unnecessary roughness penalties Church had called on him in the game against Washington. I don’t believe either call was the right call either, but you have to understand that in this day and age quarterbacks will always be overprotected.