Falcons coach Arthur Smith was fined $25,000, and the Falcons franchise was fined $75,000, for violating the league's injury reporting rules. Smith said today that he learned from this experience.
Smith did not explain why he failed to disclose that the Falcons' Bijan Robinson was dealing with an illness that limited his participation in the Week 7 game against the Buccaneers, but he said he had been in contact with the NFL about the matter.
“What I will give the league a lot of credit is that there are a lot of things, when you go through the injury report, and obviously we understood their perspective, but they also understood our perspective as well, and that's why it wasn't an exciting battle,” Smith said, as quoted by the Falcons' website. “As you go through that, just with complete transparency, there's an inquiry and usually you have to respond with a letter – so, it's not like you're looking at a court case – it didn't take a lot of time, just: this is the way we interpreted it, and this It is our intention, Nothing was done to try to play anything like this. I understood their point of view, so I learned my lesson there. It was a good conversation, and there will likely be many more conversations to be had in the spring. That's kind of where we left off. Once again, we have learned our lesson, and we fully understand their position. I think they understood where we were coming from. And that's what happened in the end.”
That's a lot of words to say that Smith and the Falcons were wrong. Robinson was ill, and the Falcons failed to disclose that on the injury report, as teams are required to do. The fine doesn't represent a lot of money for any NFL head coach, and certainly not for Smith, heir to the FedEx fortune. But it is a statement from the league that Smith broke the rules and was arrested.
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