The Falcons and head coach Arthur Smith have been fined by the NFL for violating its injury report policy in Week 7 vs. the Buccaneers, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
The fines stem from the decision to make rookie running back Bijan Robinson active against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 7. Robinson had an undisclosed illness that limited his ability to play, and he was only on the field for 11 snaps. The league investigated, and determined that by not reporting the illness prior to kickoff, the team and Smith violated the league’s injury policy.
“What I will give the league a lot of credit for is there are a lot of things, when you’re going through the injury report, and clearly we understood their point of view, but they also understood our point of view, too, which is why it wasn’t some contentious battle,” he said. “As you go through that, just full transparency, there’s an inquiry and usually you have to respond with a letter - so, it’s not like it’s some court case that you’re sitting in - it wasn’t a lot of time spent, just: Here’s how we interpreted it, here’s our intent, nothing was done to try to game anything like that. I understood their point of view, so lesson learned there. It was a good conversation, and there are probably a lot of conversations that are going to be had in the spring. That’s kind of where we ended it.”
That game was just one of many times this season Smith’s usage of Robinson has been confusing. At least there’s an explanation for this one, even though it will cost Smith $25k and the Falcons $75k.