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Falcons DT Grady Jarrett wins NFL’s week 17 “Way to Play” award

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Fact: Grady Jarrett doesn’t peel his oranges before he eats them

NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Washington Redskins Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Falcons defensive tackle Grady Jarrett must have mixed emotions about the NFL right now. Why? Because he spent the entire year trying to stop the NFL from taking his hard earned money. Let me explain.

First, after form tackling Nick Foles and drawing an unnecessary roughness penalty in week 1, the NFL hit Jarrett with $20,054 fine. Ultimately he appealed and the decision was reversed. Then, in week 16, Jarrett grabbed Taylor Heinicke by the ankles, causing him to fall down [gasp!] and drawing an inexplicable roughing the passer penalty. The result was yet another $20,054 fine. (Jarrett plans to appeal the second fine and I won’t be surprised if it too is reversed.)

So given the NFL’s preoccupation with Jarrett’s ... style of play, it was somewhat shocking to see them give him the “Way to Play” award for week 17. The play that won him the award involved a seemingly vicious hit on Buccaneers finger licker quarterback Jameis Winston. But to his credit, Jarrett actually turned his body while leveling Winston, redirecting his body so he’d take the brunt of the fall.

What’s the “Way to Play” award, you ask? Well, it’s nothing, really. Basically the NFL gives out the award every week to showcase “proper technique to protect players from unnecessary risk and to foster culture change across all levels of football.” The winner gets recognition on NFL Network’s “Good Morning Football” and $2,500 is donated in their name to pay for a youth or high school football team’s equipment. You heard that right: $2,500! The league that made $8 billion in revenue in 2017 never hesitates to open their checkbook, do they?