NASHVILLE (USATODAY.com)- Tennessee Titans safety Bernard Pollard said his reputation might have played into the $42,000 fine he received from the NFL for a hit on Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson last Sunday.
Pollard wasn't penalized on the play. He said he would appeal the fine.
Meanwhile, Texans cornerback Kareem Jackson was fined the same amount for what appeared to be a targeted helmet-to-helmet shot on Titans wide receiver Kendall Wright. Jackson was flagged for unnecessary roughness.
Pollard has been fined several times throughout his career. Asked if his reputation played a part in the most recent fine, the eighth-year pro said: "I guess, I don't know. I was surprised, but at the same time, guys around the locker room kind of warned me about the person that I am and the history that I have."
Johnson suffered a concussion and did not finish the game. Wright, who finished the game, was held out of practice on Wednesday after telling coaches he had a headache.
Pollard said that if he had hit Johnson the way Jackson hit Wright, "it would be really bad," estimating that he would have either been suspended or given a six-figure fine.
Pollard appeared to turn his helmet away from Johnson, hitting the Texans wide receiver first with his shoulder.
"They said I did everything right," Pollard said of the NFL. "But he was a defenseless receiver, I guess. The bad part of it is, for us as players, for the fans, for the coaches, for the refs, there's a lot of gray area. So they don't know what to call and what not to call. There's no call and now you come back and fine me $42,000 for ... a play that was legal."
The league is making it harder and harder to play defense, Pollard said.
"Flag football, that's what they want. For us as players, it stinks. Our intent is to play football, to protect the field behind us. Nobody's intention was to hurt (Johnson). Nobody wanted a concussion. We hope he's OK," he said.
"But like I said, if you don't want us to play defense, don't call us defense. Take us off the field. Just let them go against air. Let's see what that does to the ratings."