The NFL fined a player $10,000 for making a call from the sidelines, even though all he wanted to do was assure his wife he was okay after suffering a possible concussion earlier.
Superstar safety Troy Polamalu of the Pittsburgh Steelers, whose flowing hair is featured in Head and Shoulders shampoo commercials, was seen talking on a cell phone while sitting on the bench during last week's game against Jacksonville. That's prohibited by the league, and officials were not swayed by Polamalu's extenuating circumstances.
Polamalu borrowed the phone from a trainer Sunday to let his wife know he was alright after leaving the game with concussion-like symptoms, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The league rules say "possession of cell phones, [personal digital assistants] or other electronic equipment in the bench area during a game is strictly prohibited by league policy beginning 90 minutes before kickoff through the end of the game."
Polamalu declined comment on the fine Friday. But his coach, Mike Tomlin, came to his defense.
"He has had a history of concussion-like symptoms in the past," Tomlin told the paper. "[Mr. Polamalu's wife] was concerned. In this era of player safety, you would think that common sense would prevail in some of these things. It wasn't a personal call. He wasn't checking on his bank account."
The league seems to want to prevent incidents like one in 2003, when then-New Orleans Saints wide receiver Joe Horn scored a touchdown, then pulled out a cell phone he had hidden behind the padding of a goal post and pretended to make a call. Horn was fined $30,000. But at the same time, the league has expressed concern about concussions, and Polamalu has a history of them.