Grateful Goldson says he's not trying to hurt other players
Bucs safety Dashon Goldson says he has never been a dirty player but he intends to make sure all his hits are clean and within the rules from now on.
“I know there’s going to be a lot of eyes on me from now on,'' Goldson said. "I mean, that’s okay. I’ve just got to be smart. I’m not trying to hurt our team, I’m definitely not trying to hurt myself or another player.''
Goldson was suspended one game without pay on Monday for his helmet-to-helmet hit on New Orleans running back Darren Sproles in the Bucs' 16-14 loss to the Saints. It was his second personal foul in as many weeks. He struck Jets tight end Jeff Cumberland in the helmet a week earlier against the Jets.
Former Vikings and Ravens center Matt Birk, who served as the appeals officer, reduced discipline to a $100,000 fine. Goldson practiced with the team Wednesday and will start Sunday against the New England Patriots in Foxboro.
News of Goldson's appeal victory did not sit well with Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who doesn't like the playing style of the Bucs' Pro Bowl safety.
Brees said Goldson "certainly has no regards for rules in the middle" and "he's going after guys' heads."
"You can see it," Brees told reporters in New Orleans Wednesday.
However, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said if he were a safety, he would play a lot like Goldson.
"I don't think he's dirty at all,'' Brady said. "I think he plays the game as we learned to play growing up. I mean, he's an incredible player and he does a lot of things well. You've really got to keep your eye on him and it's not like you want to throw a bunch of balls in the middle the field and see if he's going to make the play. There's usually a lot of big hits because he attacks the ball so aggressively.''
Goldson said while he will continue to play aggressively, he has never tried to hurt another player.
"I’m an aggressive player, we all know that throughout the league,'' Goldson said. "My intention is never to go out here and hurt nobody. I try to keep my hits within the rules and that’s what I’m going to try to do week in and week out is make sure I get guys on the ground. At the same time, I’ve got to be careful. I’ve got to take my shots when they present themselves but clean. No launching of course, no hats on hats. Just make sure I get the guy on the ground and do it properly.''