Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott reportedly received a $26,739 fine from the NFL for initiating contact with his helmet during the team's Week 14 overtime win against the Philadelphia Eagles at AT&T Stadium.
Todd Archer of ESPN.com reported the update Friday and noted Elliott is appealing the punishment, which stems from a fourth-quarter play in which he hit Eagles safety Corey Graham while lowering his head at the end of a reception.
The 23-year-old Ohio State product is the first offensive player to get called for that infraction this season.
Elliott said he was merely reacting to Graham, who'd gone low as Eagles linebacker Kamu Grugier-Hill was chasing the Cowboys rusher from behind and trying to make the tackle high.
"When you're on that sideline, man, I got to protect myself," he told reporters. "If a guy is going low, I got to go low too. The rule is for the betterment of the game, the rule is for our safety. If there was illegal helmet-to-helmet contact, that's something I need to go look at and work on. That's not OK. It's a tough play."
Dallas owner Jerry Jones said the league is making those types of calls for "protection and safety" but added he didn't think that specific play should warrant a penalty, per Charean Williams of Pro Football Talk.
"I don't want Zeke to stop punishing them on the end of his runs," he said. "Upon further review, they both tucked their heads. Zeke is a punishing runner. That's what we want in the NFL. That is a physical aspect of football that we want to give our fans. I'll certainly do everything I can to not make those kinds of things penalties."
Elliott was fined $13,369 earlier this month for unsportsmanlike conduct after he put $21 in a Salvation Army red kettle as part of a Thanksgiving Day touchdown celebration.