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NFL issues punishment to Jaguars defender who injured Rob Gronkowski


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Rob Gronkowski remains in the concussion protocol for the New England Patriots, his status for Super Bowl LII against the Philadelphia Eagles still an open question as the Patriots keep an eye on him during the bye week before the big game Feb. 4.

Now the NFL has hit Jaguars safety Barry Church, whose shot to Gronk’s head put the oft-injured tight end into concussion protocol in the first place, with a $24,309 shot to the bank account.

Gronkowski was drilled by Church on a pass over the middle late in the first half of the AFC championship game Jan. 20, which the Patriots won 24-20. He left the game and did not return.

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After the game, Church told reporters, “I just tried to dislodge the ball. He’s a big dude and I was just trying to dislodge the ball, but I guess they felt it was too high of a hit. I hope he’s healthy. I know he didn’t come back, so I hope he’s alright. It was a tough call, but you have to go with what they call. It’s the toughest play in football. If you go low for the knees you are considered a dirty player and if you go high, they throw the flag at you. It’s a bang-bang play and I was just trying to play football. I tried to lead with my shoulder.”

He added: “Yes, it’s tough. That guy is humongous. If you wait for him to catch it and bring him down, he might run you over. You have to go with it and try and hit him in the right target zone, but going 100 miles an hour like that is nearly impossible.”

The Patriots revealed to the media Friday that had the Super Bowl been scheduled for this upcoming Sunday, Gronkowski would’ve been ruled out of the game.

Gronkowski, of course, isn’t just the recipient of head shots: During a Dec. 3 game against Buffalo, he delivered a brutal blow to the noggin of Bills rookie defensive back Tre’Davious White, who was on the ground out of bounds after an interception.

White suffered a concussion on the play, which many fans labeled a dirty hit. The league suspended Gronkowski for one game, which reportedly cost him $281,250.

These plays are part of a disturbing upward trend in concussions in the NFL this year:

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But such is football. The fine prescribed by the league’s discipline rules for inflicting a head injury says that the fine for a first offense is $24,309, so that’s what Church paid the league.

And indeed, there are probably plenty of people in Philadelphia who would happily start a GoFundMe to raise that $24,309 for Church if Gronkowski is forced to miss the Super Bowl due to the injury.

They might even throw in a cheesesteak and a case of beer if the Eagles win.

Don’t expect any news out of the famously secretive Patriots organization on this. They’ll put Gronkowski on the injury report as league rules mandate, but neither team representatives nor coach Bill Belichick is likely to say anything other than, “We’re just focused on winning the game.”

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Boston born and raised, Fox has been writing about sports since 2011. He covered ESPN Friday Night Fights shows for The Boxing Tribune before shifting focus and launching Pace and Space, the home of "Smart NBA Talk for Smart NBA Fans", in 2015. He can often be found advocating for various NBA teams to pack up and move to his adopted hometown of Seattle.
Boston born and raised, Fox has been writing about sports since 2011. He covered ESPN Friday Night Fights shows for The Boxing Tribune before shifting focus and launching Pace and Space, the home of "Smart NBA Talk for Smart NBA Fans", in 2015. He can often be found advocating for various NBA teams to pack up and move to his adopted hometown of Seattle.
Birthplace
Boston, Massachusetts
Education
Bachelor of Science in Accounting from University of Nevada-Reno
Location
Seattle, Washington
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Sports




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