Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said Thursday that Dashon Goldson's big hit on Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez was perfectly legal. The NFL believes otherwise.
Goldson received a manilla envelop today - he has many others in his locker - informing him he's being docked $21,000 for the hit, which drew a 15-yard penalty at the time. Goldson said he plans to appeal the fine.
Goldson has been penalized for more yards -- 102 -- than any other 49er and ranks seventh in the NFL in that category. All but one of his penalties have been 15-yard personal fouls.
Still, the safety noted that he hasn't been fined for the majority of those hits. He was fined $7,875 for taunting Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch in Week 7, and he hit a sliding Sam Bradford late in a game against the Rams, drawing another $7,875 fine.
He also was fined $25,000 last season for fighting with Arizona wide receiver Early Doucet. He was ejected from that game.
Goldson, however, vowed that the fines wouldn't change his style of play. He's becoming known as one of the hardest hitters in the league and is a bit of a throwback to an era when big hits on receivers and tight ends were expected from safeties. Indeed, on the play immediately following the hit on Hernandez, the tight end seemed to short-arm a throw that was then batted in the air and intercepted by Aldon Smith.
"I don't have time to sit there in the timespan I have as a football player when I'm on the football field to decide what's clean and what's a not-so-clean hit," Goldson said. "I'm not a dirty player. And that's just that."
Fangio said he and the rest of the team's assistants coach their players to hit legally and he believes Goldson did so because he wrapped up Hernandez as he made the tackle. "He hit him right here in the chest area," Fangio said. "I think what's happened is if it looks bad, the league has told the officials to err on the side of caution. ... A lot of times if they don't see it all and it's a bang-bang play - it's a hard play for them to see sometimes - they're going to err on the side of safety and throw the flag."
Goldson, meanwhile, has a locker full of manilla envelopes from the league. Many of them are uniform violations, including those regarding the length of Goldson's socks. He said those infractions are $5,000 and $10,000 a pop and that he's probably been fined $70,000 altogether this season.
- Matt Barrows