Antrel Rolle says he was taking a stand and fighting back against the Philadelphia Eagles when he was flagged for unnecessary roughness during a little scuffle with tight end Brent Celek.
The two were pushing and shoving after LeSean McCoy was tackled following an 11-yard run with 3:02 left to play in the first half.
On the play before, Rolle and DeSean Jackson got into a shoving match near the sideline as well.
The 15-yard penalty gave the Eagles a 1st-and-10 at the Giants’ 11. Two plays later, McCoy scored a touchdown to cut the Giants’ lead to 14-10. The Giants would end up winning 29-16 and Rolle finished with six tackles.
“I felt like they were cheap-shotting a little bit, they kept trying to put their hand up in my facemask and kept grinding after the play,” Rolle said. “I just had to let them know that I am not a pushover, I am not a punk under any means and sometimes you have to put your foot down. Even if it costs you a little bit, sometimes it has to be done.”
“It is more of a mental toughness and more of an attitude than anything sometimes,” Rolle continued. “That is where I was going with that. I wasn’t going to get myself ejected, I wasn’t going to throw any blows. At the same time I am going to stand my ground.”
Rolle made himself a bit of a target for the Eagles when he said on his weekly radio spot on WFAN that he wanted Michael Vick to play in part because "I don't want any excuses when we go down to Philly and put it to them the way we will."
Wide receiver Jeremy Maclin then said that the Giants had no business talking after losing six straight to the Eagles and that Rolle might have been talking because "a lot of times, people talk, they are either insecure or scared. So you guys choose."
Tom Coughlin routinely preaches to his players to maintain their composure on the field because often times, the referees will not catch the player who initiates an altercation but rather the player who reacts.
In this case, Rolle said he reacted to Celek. But he says sometimes players must take a stand even if the head coach might not like it.
“The coaching gets done Monday-through-Saturday,” Rolle said. “Sunday when I am on the field, I am in the zone. If I feel like something has to be done, I am going to handle it and I will take care of disciplinary actions after that. I wasn’t going to get myself ejected, I am a smart player and I wasn’t going to hurt myself or my team by getting ejected. I think I definitely had to make a statement and hold my ground.”
“I just felt like sometimes it is bigger than the game,” Rolle continued. “I don’t want them to get that attitude over us, that they have more swagger than us or they have more passion or more desire or even more toughness.”
This week, Rolle’s emotions could be high as he will face his former team, the Cardinals, for the first time.
Coughlin said he could talk to Rolle this week about playing against his old team.
“I think for all of us, in the competitive nature of that game, there are so many emotions going on, it really is important to grab a hold of yourself and stay under control,” Coughlin said. “You never know what is going to happen if something happens and you are out of control. You can be ejected. You can cost your team valuable yardage. I know he thought at the half the way I am expressing it and hopefully he will learn and we all will learn.”
Rolle said if the situation presents itself again where he feels he has to defend himself and take a stand, he will do it again.
“I’ll take a chance,” Rolle said. “I have confidence in our team and in myself, I have confidence that 15 [yards], we’ll get 30 more [back]. That is the way I look at it. In the heat of the moment like that, sometimes you have to put your foot down.”