Eric Smith Thinks the NFL Tried to Made an Example of Him

Eric Smith will be back with the Jets on Sunday after serving his one-game suspension for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Anquan Boldin. He's not through talking about the decision to suspend and fine him $50,000 for the incident, though.

Smith feels that the NFL was using him as the poster boy for bad behavior and is upset that he was handled differently than other players punished for illegal hits.

"I tried to tell them that my intention wasn't to hit him like that, but they told me intent wasn't looked at," said Smith, whose salary is $445,000. "But if intent isn't involved, then why isn't every fine the same?"

It's a fair question. Julius Peppers was only fined 10K for a hit on Matt Ryan earlier this season but, then, Ryan, unlike Boldin, wasn't laid out for several minutes on the field and hasn't missed a game. If intent doesn't matter to the league, the result of the hit shouldn't matter either.

I understand the NFL's desire to eliminate tacklers leading with their helmets and don't think doing so turns football into a "pansy game." They've got to get their act together when it comes to penalizing these and other incidents, though. Players don't have a clue why they are being fined, the fine amounts are pulled out of mid-air and all too often these plays aren't even penalized on the field of play. That's no way to run a league and not a way to prove you're serious about enacting a change in the way the game is played.

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