Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Dashon Goldson was back at One Buc Place practicing Wednesday, fresh off an overturned suspension  and preparing to face Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.
“We get to play an elite Hall of Famer. He’s a good quarterback and it wouldn’t be right if I couldn’t be on that football field. I’m glad to be a part of this game again this week and being back on the practice field with my teammates.”
Goldson met with NFL appeals officer and former Pro Bowl center Matt Birk to discuss his helmet-to-helmet hit on New Orleans Saints running back Darren Sproles.
“It was just me getting my point across and us really taking the time and seeing what’s right and what’s wrong,” said Goldson, who will still have to pay a $100,000 fine for the hit. “Matt Birk heard my story. He did a good job explaining the rules and mediating the whole thing. It went well.”
Birk also upheld Goldson’s $30,000 fine from the previous week on New York Jets tight end Jeff Cumberland.
“It definitely helps when you have a guy who played the game and understands our emotions, how fast things happen out there, and to see it from another football player’s point of view.”
Goldson explained to Birk that Sproles, who is 5-foot-6, tried to move away from the hit at the last minute, forcing Goldson, who is 6-foot-2, off his target.
“I [went to] hit him and at the last minute, he started to go down, trying to get away out of the hit, so I kind of mis-targeted him. They listened to my side of the story and I think we got stuff resolved.”
His biggest takeaway from the meeting?
“I’ve just got to be smart. I’m not trying to hurt my team. I’m definitely not trying to hurt myself or another player,” said Goldson, who will continue to work on lowering his target point in practice. The Bucs have placed heavy emphasis on tackling drills and technique every day throughout their practices.
“I think that would be a wakeup call to anybody. That’s a lot of money. At the same time, like I said, I can’t go out there and play timid. I know I’m not a dirty player.”
And he hopes people recognize he’s no head-hunter.
“It’s frustrating. It is a little frustrating. I have a lot of pride in my tackling. I take that seriously. That’s a simple fact that that’s the kind of player I am, and that’s how I made my name in this league. I’ve got to continue to do what I’ve got to do but at the same time, be smart about it.”