Rookie receiver Niles Paul was slapped with a $20,000 fine for helmet-to-helmet contact in Sunday’s 17-10 win at St. Louis.
Paul shared the news via Twitter on Wednesday morning. “Horrible way to start off my bye week!” he tweeted.
The hit came on a Rams’ punt return in the final minute of the first half. St. Louis returner Austin Pettis opted not to call for a fair catch and Paul and the ball arrived at the same time. Pettis muffed the punt, but Paul was penalized on the play for an illegal tackle.
He said following the game he didn’t feel it was a helmet to helmet hit and was intentionally trying to avoid such contact.
“I was running down there full speed and I was conscious that I don’t want to do a helmet-to-helmet shot,” Paul said. “So what I did, I was trying to time it up. I didn’t want to slow down because I’ve been taught to run through the returner . . . so I lowered my shoulder and tried to move my head to the side. He ended up getting low.
“It didn’t look like helmet-to-helmet to me. I didn’t think I hit him with my helmet.”
Paul saw his most extensive action of the season against the Rams. He continued to play a key role in special teams, and with Anthony Armstrong nursing a hamstring injury, Paul also saw plenty of time lined up at receiver.