Upon further review, Antrel Rolle was wrong. He admitted as much on Monday.
Both Rolle and coach Tom Coughlin felt the referees were wrong to penalize the safety for an unnecessary roughness penalty in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 28-14 loss in Washington.
But after looking at the game film, Rolle changed his tune.
“It was a legit call,” Rolle said.
Rolle clanged helmets with Redskins tight end Fred Davis when Davis was untouched following a seven-yard reception. Had Davis been stopped where he caught the ball, he would’ve been short of the first down marker.
But referees whistled Rolle for the 15-yard unnecessary roughness because he hit Davis helmet to helmet. The flag gave the Redskins a first down on a drive they'd eventually score on to build a two-touchdown lead.
“After looking at the film, it was definitely a legit call,” Rolle said. “My angle was initially to aim for his back, but he began to alligator roll, so once he rolled, my momentum did collide and we did go helmet-to-helmet. It’s a legit call.”
Rolle said he wasn’t going for helmet-to-helmet contact. He was just trying to hit Davis as hard as he could so he’d fumble the ball. Rolle was leading with his shoulder, but when Davis began to roll, the course of collision changed.
Rolle spoke with Coughlin about the play on Monday.
“He knows I’m not a nasty player,” Rolle said. “I consider myself a very physical player, but never a nasty player.
I never want to hurt any player, it’s just a matter of instincts. I’m never gonna slow down my physical play, I’ll just be smarter.”
“I definitely didn't think it was helmet-to-helmet,” Rolle said Sunday. “I definitely didn't lead with my helmet. I've never led with my helmet. At the end of the day, there's nothing I can do about it - the call was made.”
Information from ESPN NewYork.com's Ian Begley was used in compiling this blog post.