Bucs safety Dashon Goldson has been suspended for one game for repeat violations of NFL safety rules.
Goldson's wallet is already $30,000 lighter after the NFL fined him for an illegal helmet-to-helmet hit in Week 1. Now, the two-time pro bowl defender is suspended by the league for another hit he delivered last night against the New Orleans Saints.
Goldson hit Saints running back Darren Sproles in the helmet while trying to make a tackle on Sunday. It was one of three helmet-to-helmet penalties committed by the Bucs in the game.
"A player like him, a great player in this league, you know, proven himself over and over again in this league, it's hard to tell him to stop," said Bucs linebacker Mason Foster, who scored his first career touchdown in the game against the Saints. "That's his style of play. He plays hard he plays fast."
Goldson was flagged for two personal fouls against the Jets in the season opener. The first of the day forced tight end Jeff Cumberland to leave the game. In all, Tampa Bay has been flagged five times already this season for hits to the head.
"If a guy's about to get hit, he's going to cradle," Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy said, hunching his shoulders in demonstration. "I mean, it's human nature. It's a natural reaction."
Goldson joined the Bucs before this season and had a reputation as a hard hitter from his days with the San Francisco 49ers.
"When we made the decision to bring Dashon here, that was not a concern," said Bucs head coach Greg Schiano. "Was I aware that he was a big hitter? Yes. Now, it's a concern that he may get suspended, but Dashon is trying to do the right thing."
Still, Goldson's teammates don't want to see their teammate on the sidelines for hits that are sometimes hard to avoid during a full speed play.
"It's definitely unfortunate if he gets suspended, but he's not out there targeting people, trying to hurt people on purpose," said Foster. "He's just playing football the way he knows how."
Bucs head coach Greg Schiano and the players that spoke in the locker room on Monday told reporters that the team has to figure out a way to keep the penalty flags in the referee's pockets. In the first two games, Tampa Bay leads the NFL with 23 penalties committed.
"If they're going to call it, they're going to call it," said McCoy, who picked up his first sack of the season against the Saints on Sunday.
The Bucs, who have started the year 0-2, try for their first win this weekend on the road against the New England Patriots.