Fine line between big hit, big fine

Edmonton's Julius Williams moves to tackle Winnipeg's Buck Pierce as Pierce last month. Williams...

Edmonton's Julius Williams moves to tackle Winnipeg's Buck Pierce as Pierce last month. Williams was called for penalty on what was deemed to be a late hit last week against the Saskatchewan Roughriders. (QMI Agency)

GERRY MODDEJONGE, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:07 PM ET

EDMONTON - For CFL defenders, there is a fine line between coming up with a big hit and being hit with a big fine.

OK, maybe not a 'big' fine, but it could cost a hit to the pocketbook, if not more.

"Definitely, you've got to pick your battles," said Eskimos defensive end Julius Williams, who is coming off a win where he had a sack but also got dinged with a late 15-yard roughing-the-passer penalty that could have changed the outcome. "You've got to know what to do and when to do it.

"Obviously, last week I took a penalty that wasn't very smart and I got an earful because of it -- and I should have."

Especially considering it placed the Saskatchewan Roughriders 30 yards out of the end zone for one final Hail Mary opportunity to score what would have been the tying touchdown on the last play of regulation.

"I didn't think it was an illegal hit, I just got kind of high on his head," Williams said. "But I that situation, you don't even want to hit the quarterback when the ball is going.

"You want to keep your composure because it could cost you the game."

Or, in Rod Davis's case, an undisclosed fine by the league.

"First of all, rules are rules," said the Montreal Alouettes linebacker, who may be lucky not to have been suspended after a helmet-to-helmet hit on a quarterback last week. "Any contact with a helmet to helmet is a penalty, is a fine. In my incident, looking at the film, I had contact with the facemask.

"We can say he moved fast, he did this, it was quick. All of that is relevant because it is a fast game, but as a professional athlete I have to learn to adjust.

"The game is changing, the speed of it is changing, so I have to be able to adapt with this league. It's not like back in the '80s, '90s, where it's coming downhill banging head-to-head and all of that stuff.

"So we as players have to change."

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gerry.moddejonge@sunmedia.ca


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