New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham signed a lucrative new contract extension. That's good news for the All-Pro, who will have to dip into his wallet after being fined by the NFL for dunking the football twice following touchdowns against Tennessee.
The fine was first announced by NFL Network's Ian Rapoport:
#Saints TE Jimmy Graham was fined $30,000 for his dunks during a preseason game, source said.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 22, 2014
The dunks drew 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, though Graham was hardly the only problem for the Saints on Friday. The team had a total of 22 penalties for 184 yards in the game.
Graham's penalties did draw the ire of New Orleans head coach Sean Payton, who told reporters after the game, via ESPN.com, that is was a poor reflection on the coaching staff and players:
"Obviously, that was painful to watch," Payton said. "It's the first sign of a team that has no discipline, and that's the first sign of poor coaching...I'm very upset."
Graham is known for dunking the ball over the goalposts following touchdowns since coming into the league in 2010. He has done it 41 times in the regular season, but the league banned the move in the offseason.
NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino expanded on the league's decision to ban dunking during a March appearance on The Dan Patrick Show, via Chris Wesseling of NFL.com:
We grandfathered in some, the Lambeau Leap and things like that. But dunking will come out. Using the ball as a prop or any object as a prop, whether that's the goal post, the crossbar, that will come out and that will be a foul next season.
Former tight end Tony Gonzalez, who was also known for dunking the ball over the goalpost after scoring touchdowns, didn't take to kindly to seeing his signature celebration get outlawed:
The NFL says no more dunking over the goalpost. This one I don't understand. Looks like I got out just in time.— Tony Gonzalez (@TonyGonzalez88) March 25, 2014
Scoffing at the NFL's lack of amusement during player celebrations is par for the course anymore, but Graham has to know better than to blatantly disregard the rules twice in the same game.
Graham got lucky this time because the penalties occurred in a preseason game. However, if he's unable to control the urge to do this during a regular season game, it could end up costing the Saints more than just money.
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