George Iloka was penalized for using his helmet, now he wants to use his head to save some cash.
The Bengals safety is appealing his $23,152 fine, levied by the NFL after he was involved in a helmet-to-helmet hit on Steelers tight end Heath Miller in the Nov. 1 win over the Steelers in Pittsburgh.
Though television announcers calling the action for the Bengals-Steelers game said that Iloka should expect to hear from the league, he thought it was a clean hit.
I didn't leave my feet,” Iloka told the team's official website. “I made contact with my shoulder to his shoulder. In football, your head will hit just because of momentum. It will make them touch. But I didn't target his neck or head area."
We'll see how that holds up in NFL court for the hard-hitting 25-year-old safety.
"I thought that's what the rule was. Whatever it is, it is," Iloka said. "I've already moved on from it. If they take it, oh well, whatever. Hopefully we'll make a few playoff games, and I'll make up for it that way. If they rescind it, that's a good call.”
It's not the first time Iloka has been fined by the NFL for a questionable hit, but he insists he’s playing within the rules that lowered the tackling target.
“I wouldn't lie. If it was college, in those days, defenders used to probably try to hit you up high and knock you out type of thing. Now, I try to hit guys hard, but hit them hard here,” said Iloka, who pointed to his upper chest. “You get the same kind of impact. You can jar the ball loose if you hit a guy in his chest. I've had quite a few big hits since I've been here, quite a bit of fines. But a lot of them have gotten rescinded because the coaching and how they've taught me how to hit."
Iloka said he may take an extra peek at some film, just to make sure.
“It's hard for refs to make that call at game-time speed. That's why you try not to get mad," he said. "That's why you saw in the game when they called it, I was like, whatever. I'll deal with it some other time. We'll look at the film and if I hit him, then fine me. If didn't hit him in his head, then don't fine me.”