Brace Hemmelgarn-US PRESSWIRE
It's a good thing that Minnesota Vikings' safety Harrison Smith is a first-round draft pick. Otherwise, he might have an issue with the National Football League getting into his wallet.
Smith was fined for the second time in his short NFL career today, as he was fined $15,750 for his horse-collar tackle of Robert Griffin III in last Sunday's 38-26 loss to the Washington Redskins. Smith grabbed RGIII by the back of his jersey and pulled him down in the third quarter of the game.
Smith's first fine came during the pre-season, as he was fined $21,000 for his helmet-to-helmet hit on San Diego Chargers' wide receiver Mike Willie. He could have racked up a third fine (and possibly a suspension) for contact with a referee against the Tennessee Titans in Week 5, but managed to avoid the wrath of the league office on that one.
The rookie from Notre Dame has been a big part of a much-improved Minnesota defense, giving them a presence at safety that they've lacked since at least Darren Sharper. . .and as far as a physical presence, you'd probably have to go back to Robert Griffith. Hopefully he can continue to provide that while managing to keep the majority of his paycheck in his wallet going forward.