Colts agree: The hit on Austin Collie wasn't illegal

MJD

There's another look at the hit that concussed Austin Collie(notes) and necessitated his exit of the field on a stretcher. It's disturbing and off-putting to watch, and obviously, we all hope the best for Collie (head coach Jim Caldwell seemed pretty optimistic that Collie would be fine).

At the risk of being insensitive, though, the fact that the hit injured someone doesn't necessarily mean that it was flag-worthy or fine-worthy.

This one wasn't, and that opinion comes from two teammates of Austin Collie. Via Paul Kuharsky at ESPN, two Colts defensive backs, Aaron Francisco(notes) and Jacob Lacey(notes), both thought the hit on Collie was clean. First, Francisco:

“No, it didn’t look like intent. When a player gets hit by two guys, not really simultaneously but one after another, it’s kind of hard as a defensive back to keep your head out of the way. That guy is getting hit towards you, you don’t know where his head is going to be or whatever."

And Lacey:

“It was a football play, it looked like a clean hit. You don’t wish that on anybody, or want anybody to be hurt or anything like that. But it looked like a clean hit. The first guy kind of gave him that momentum to swing into the other guy.”

I'm 100% in favor of the NFL's crackdown on helmet-to-helmet hits and contact to the head. I'm in favor of the suspensions, and I'd even be in support of taking it to the next level: immediate ejections for guys that target heads.

But I think we have to be careful about flagging and fining based on the plays made on the field and their intent, as opposed to their results. If you could click your heels three times and magically make all helmet-to-helmet contact go away, you're still going to have head injuries in the NFL. We can't start fining guys $25,000 every time someone gets a concussion.

It'll be interesting to see what happens when Friday fine day rolls around, and Quintin Mikell(notes) and Kurt Coleman(notes) open up their mail.