Robert Mathis Fined for Helmet-to-Helmet Hit on David Garrard
As it turned out, the NFL felt differently.
Mathis, the Indianapolis Colts' two-time Pro Bowl defensive end, learned on Wednesday he had been fined by the NFL for what the league determined was a helmet-to-helmet hit on Garrard in a 34-24 Colts victory Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Mathis said he learned of the fine from his agent, and said he didn't yet know the amount.
"I was just trying to swat the ball out," Mathis said Wednesday. "He pumped it. I was trying to get the ball out. It was football, you know what I'm saying? I guess it's not Football 101 anymore."
Mathis, who said he is appealing the league's decision, sacked Garrard on the first drive of Sunday's game. He launched at Garrard and spread his arms before tackling the veteran quarterback.
"I didn't even think about it until (Wednesday) when I got the call," Mathis said. "I was like, 'Well, OK.'"
Mathis said he won't change his style in the wake of the fine.
"You can't," he said. "If you change the way you've been taught to play football, you won't have a job. And if you continue to play the way you've been taught to play, you're going to get fined. It's a double-edged sword."