SEATTLE — Golden Tate’s block of Dallas linebacker Sean Lee was the signature play of the Seahawks’ victory over the Cowboys on Sunday.
That block now will reportedly require his signature on a fairly sizable check.
Tate was fined $21,000 by the NFL, according to a report from ESPNDallas.com.
Players are notified of fines via Federal Express in the first half of the week, but the league does not confirm the amount of those fines until Friday.
Seattle’s players had Wednesday off so Tate was not available for comment. Tate did not confirm he had been fined, but using his Twitter account did retweet several comments from fans disagreeing with the fine. One of those Tweets cited Tate’s own words after the game: “If I didn’t hit him then he would have hit my quarterback.”
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said after Sunday’s game he expected the league would fine Tate.
“I’m sure they will,” Jones said in Dallas’ locker room. “We saw the same thing you saw. That’s certainly something we know or expect penalties and fines about.”
Specifically, NFL rules have changed in recent years, limiting where a blocker can strike a defensive player who is in pursuit of an opponent and does not see the block coming.
In that situation, the player in pursuit is classified as defenseless and cannot be struck above the shoulders.
Tate said after the game he believed he struck his opponent in the chest. However, the rule also limits striking the opponent with the helmet.
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll was asked about the block Monday.
“I don’t think he could have done it any cleaner,” Carroll said. “It was very physical, but he didn’t hit the guy in the head and he didn’t hit him with his helmet, and he tried to not.”
Carroll was aware that there some people — namely in the Dallas locker room — who disagreed with that assessment.
“I understand there are some people who are staging a case for whatever the league’s observation is of this,” Carroll said. “We’ll be anxious to see how that goes.”
According to a report in Dallas, the league decided it’s going to cost $21,000.