Over the last several years, the NFL has been cracking down more and more on hits by defensive players and former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison certainly has received his share of fines and even a one-game suspension as a result of his actions. There is one Steelers rookie; however, that expects to have his paycheck docked by the league office during his career.
Safety Shamarko Thomas, who the Steelers drafted in the fourth round of the 2013 NFL Draft, said recently in an interview with Tom Robinson of The Virginian-Pilot that while the coaching staff stressed proper hitting techniques with him during the offseason practices, he still expects to be fined because of the way he plays.
"They’re afraid of the fines," Thomas told Robinson. "I don’t want any fines, either. I’m gonna get some fines, I’m not gonna lie. That’s just how I play. It’s football."
Following the selection of Thomas, Steelers defensive backs coach Carnell Lake noted what a big hitter the Syracuse product is.
"He even hits the ground violently," said Lake, who also stated that he\'s not worried about Thomas being a bit undersized.
Thomas had some big hits during his college career and as a result suffered a few concussions, but Lake said he didn\'t see that as an issue moving forward.
"The way the game is played is the way he plays the game, Said Lake. "He has had concussions before, and they haven’t been an issue with the medical staff. As you know, our safeties that are currently playing on our team have had issues. It comes with the territory back there because of the distances and the speed at which these guys play.
"I don’t see it as an issue. He is not a head hunter per se; he just makes good strong tackles. Most of his tackles when you watch him, he is wrapping up with his arms and his shoulders, so I do like that part about it. I don’t think we have a concern about him just leading with his head all the time."
While it is hard to say whether or not Thomas was joking about getting fined, it probably isn\'t such a good idea to throw that statement out there considering how it always seems the Steelers defense stays under the microscope as far as hits go.
Thomas won\'t be a starter until perhaps his second season in the league so in the meantime he will have to display that heavy hitting talent of his on special teams and hopefully not lose part of his paycheck in the process.