There was a sense of relief coming from Buccaneers safety Dashon Goldson on Wednesday at One Buc Place – and rightfully so. The hard-hitting All-Pro safety avoided a suspension on Wednesday morning and immediately went out to the practice fields to join his teammates and began preparing for the New England Patriots.
Much like the confidence he has on the field, Goldson was also confident in his appeal to the suspension.
“I’m very confident in what I’ve done and me just getting my point across,” Goldson said. “It definitely helps when you have a guy (appeals official Matt Birk) that has played the game and understands the emotion and how fast things happen out there, and see it from another football player’s point of view.
“I had a good argument I felt, and I explained my side. They went ahead and explained the rules and we went ahead and met halfway. The good thing is that I’m not suspended and I get to play this week, which is the most important thing. I’m just facing a fine.”
Goldson went on to briefly break down how the hit happened.
“I was already in motion to hit him and at the last minute he (Darren Sproles) started to go down and try to get out of the hit,” Goldson said. “It kind of messed up my target zone. It’s frustrating. I have a lot of pride in my tackling. I take that seriously.”
The NFL’s heavy shift to protect players and amp up player safety is something players should take very serious. The nature of the offense carries hefty fines and Goldson has already been hit with $130,000 worth of fines in just the first two weeks of 2013. Although he takes pride in his tackling, the fines he has racked up may alter his approach in his technique.
“It has to be a wake-up call to anybody,” Goldson said. “It’s a lot of money, but as I said, I can’t go out there and play timid. I’m not a dirty player. The coaches here do a good job of implementing tackling. We do tackling drills here every day.
“It’s just unfortunate that these last two weeks I’m a dirty player all of a sudden. It is what it is and I’m going to continue to do me and just be smart at the same time.”
Goldson will continue to play the way he is used to, which is a very aggressive and physical style. But don’t be fooled. Goldson isn’t trying to take anyone out.
“I’m an aggressive player,” Goldson said. “My intention is to never go out and hurt anybody. I try to keep my hits within the rules. That’s what I’m going to do week in and week out. I’m trying to get guys on the ground. I just have to be careful. No launching, of course, and no hats on hats.”
It may have taken the seventh-year veteran safety out of the University of Washington this long to adjust his approach to tackling an opponent. It’s the way of the new NFL and because of it the spotlight will be on him.
“I know there are going to be a lot of eyes on me from now on,” Goldson said. “That’s okay. I just have to be smart. I’m not trying to hurt my team, and I’m definitely not trying to hurt myself or another player.”
Goldson already made a step towards the right direction when it comes to hurting the Bucs. His lost would have been heavily felt across the team this Sunday if they took the field without him. He recognized there s a big challenge in Week 3 and realizes he needs to be there for his teammates.