What NFL injury report rule did Arthur Smith violate? Explaining his $25,000 fine

The Atlanta Falcons, led by head coach Arthur Smith, have witnessed a disappointing season this year. With mere six wins and eight losses, they are sitting in the third spot in the NFC South. What is even more disappointing is that they even went down to a below-average team like the Carolina Panthers.

Despite the lackluster season, the Falcons are unlikely to fire Arthur in the next season, prompting mixed reaction from the NFL community. Meanwhile, both the HC sustained a recent setback as he and his team have been slapped with a huge fine for not abiding by the policies of the injury report of the NFL.

What NFL Injury Report rule Arthur Smith violated?

The NFL penalized the Atlanta Falcons and their head coach, Arthur Smith, with fines totaling $100,000 stemming from a violation of the league’s injury report policy earlier in the season. The incident revolves around running back Bijan Robinson and his undisclosed illness before the Falcons’ Week 7 match against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on October 22.

Despite his health concerns, the team omitted his condition from the injury report, which is a clear breach of the league’s established protocol.

NFL regulations emphasize the imperative duty of all 32 teams to accurately disclose players’ injury statuses leading up to games. Omission of any injured player from the list definitely earns a penalty from the league, as it wants to maintain transparency and fairness in injury reporting.

Coach Smith, during a halftime interview, acknowledged the RB’s condition, saying he was “just not feeling all that great.” Robinson himself disclosed to the media that he had experienced a headache the Saturday before the game and woke up feeling disoriented on game day. However, these crucial details were omitted from the team’s injury report. Ultimately, Robinson’s involvement was limited to just one carry for three yards, featuring in a mere 17% of the offensive snaps.

Arthur Smith responds to $25,000 NFL fine

Coach Arthur Smith, familiar with the NFL’s policies, chose not to contest the decision but instead chose transparency and explanation during a press conference addressing the fine. He credited the league for engaging in a constructive dialogue by acknowledging both sides’ perspectives on the matter.

“What I will give the league a lot of credit for is there are a lot of things, when you’re going through the injury report, and clearly we understood their point of view, but they also understood our point of view, too, which is why it wasn’t some contentious battle,” Smith said via The Spun.

The HC portrayed the situation as a learning experience and said no deliberate attempt was made to deceive or manipulate the injury reporting system.

“As you go through that, just full transparency, there’s an inquiry and usually you have to respond with a letter – so, it’s not like it’s some court case that you’re sitting in – it wasn’t a lot of time spent, just: Here’s how we interpreted it, here’s our intent, nothing was done to try to game anything like that. I understood their point of view, so lesson learned there. It was a good conversation, and there are probably a lot of conversations that are going to be had in the spring. That’s kind of where we ended it.”

The veteran also reiterated the team’s acknowledgment of the league’s stance and their own responsibility in the matter, saying, “Again, lesson learned, and we completely understand their position. I think they understood where we were coming from. So, that’s what ended up happening.”

While the Falcons and Arthur Smith faced the repercussions of their oversight, another incident involving the Cincinnati Bengals and their injured quarterback, Joe Burrow, briefly stirred similar concerns about a potential violation of the NFL’s injury report policy. However, the Bengals managed to address and clarify the accusations swiftly, sparing the team from any punitive actions.


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Maliha is an insightful sports writer with over a year of experience focusing on the NFL. Initially venturing into both NFL and NBA coverage, her journey began without a particular affinity for American football. However, her passion for the sport blossomed as she started following football more. Now, a huge NFL fan, Maliha meticulously follows every development within the league. She always wants to ensure her analysis is comprehensive and up-to-date to fellow readers.


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