GREEN BAY – With the bye week off, Ryan Taylor wasn’t at Lambeau Field last week. That meant the NFL, when it decided to fine the Green Bay Packers second-year tight end a whopping $21,000 for his block on Arizona Cardinals Rashad Johnson on Nov. 4, couldn’t send the customary FedEx envelope containing the bad news.
Instead, the league told Taylor’s agent, who called to inform his client of the fine last Wednesday.
“Definitely not the way you want to start a vacation,” Taylor said Wednesday after practice. “I almost had a heart attack. I was on the plane. It was definitely a surprise.”
Taylor said he is appealing the fine and isn’t looking for it to simply be reduced – he wants it “overturned” completely. Packers coach Mike McCarthy wouldn't talk about the fine, which came on a play for which Taylor was not flagged by the officials.
“We are in the appeals process. Obviously we do not agree with the assessment that the league made of the play,” Taylor said. “So right now we’re in the appeals process and I have faith in the system and hopefully it’ll be overturned.
“Their interpretation of the rules is not how I read it. I definitely thought it was a clean block.”
The play occurred during Randall Cobb’s 28-yard punt return after the Cardinals went three-and-out on the opening possession of the game. The league determined that Taylor’s hit was an “illegal blindside” block and fined him accordingly. Cobb’s return led to the Packers’ first touchdown in a 31-17 victory.
“You know what? I don’t think I can change the way I play. Because the guy had an angle on the ball, he would’ve made the tackle had I not blocked him,” Taylor said. “I’m not going to just stop blocking guys who can make tackles on our ballcarrier because of an arbitrary rule.”
The $21,000 fine constitutes roughly 5 percent of Taylor’s $465,000 base salary for this year. Taylor said his better-paid teammates cannot chip in to help him pay for his fine but they have offered him their sympathy. Taylor said the only time he’s spent that much money at once was when he bought a new car after being drafted in the seventh round a year ago.
“I made a decision on the car. I don’t have much to show for (the hit),” Taylor said. “Obviously it’s a big hit, a big hit to my pocketbook. It is what it is. I guess it comes with the territory.”
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