FLOWERY BRANCH — Falcons cornerback Dunta Robinson was fined $40,000 for his hit on Eagles wide receiver Jeremy Maclin during the third quarter of the Falcons’ 35-31 victory on Monday night.
Robinson was fined after putting a similar hit on Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson last season. He was docked $50,000, but the amount was reduced to $25,000 on appeal. He’ll likely appeal again.
With 6:12 left in the third quarter, Robinson leveled Maclin. The league said Robinson violated player safety rules.
Falcons coach Mike Smith and Robinson were convinced that Maclin was running and not a defenseless player. Robinson was called for an unnecessary roughness penalty.
“I saw him catch the ball,” Robinson said. “Last year, they said the receiver didn’t have time to see me. He was a defenseless receiver. But I saw him catch the ball. I saw him run, trying to get upfield to score. So me as a defender, if I whiff on him, he’s probably going to run around me [for] a long touchdown.”
Robinson felt he had no choice but to take a shot at Maclin, who had already scored two touchdowns. In last year’s game, Jackson had two scores before Robinson decked him and both players suffered concussions.
“This is a physical football game,” Robinson said. “That’s the way I play. If I don’t play that way, I wouldn’t make it in this league. I definitely didn’t think it was a dirty play. I’m not a dirty player. I don’t go out there and hit players illegally.”
Smith concurred with Robinson.
“In terms of Dunta’s [hit], that was not a defenseless player in my opinion,” Smith said. “It was called a defenseless player. It was not a defenseless player. He was a runner. He had taken two steps.”
Smith, a former defensive coordinator, approved of Robinson’s tackle.
“It was a clean shot, the way we coach it, and the flag was thrown so it was a penalty,” Smith said.
The Eagles were irate with Robinson.
“It’s two-for-two now,” said Maclin of Robinson’s record with the Eagles. “Fortunately, it wasn’t as bad as Jackson was last year. I was all right. It almost shocked me.”
After the game, Philadelphia coach Andy Reid wouldn’t say if he thought Robinson deserved another fine or more punishment from the league.
“That’s up to the league,” Reid said.
–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog