WESTFIELD, Ind. – The distinction of being the first player ejected from a game for violating the NFL’s new helmet rule came at a price for former Indianapolis Colts safety Shamarko Thomas.
The league fined Thomas $26,739 Friday for delivering an illegal fourth-quarter hit to Seattle wideout David Moore in each team’s preseason opener last Thursday. Thomas’ hit was exactly the type league officials are hoping to eliminate with the new leading-with-the-helmet rule. He lowered his head, launched and hit Moore with the crown of his helmet.
Coach Frank Reich was quick to condemn Thomas’ hit after the game.
“It was very disappointing,’’ he said. “We do not teach that. It was a good call. It was the appropriate call. He should have been ejected.
“We do not teach that; that should not be a part of the game. That could have been avoided, should have been avoided and the officials did the right thing.’’
Two days later, the Colts released Thomas. He subsequently signed with Denver.
Reich insisted the Colts weren’t sending a message by parting ways with Thomas.
“No message,’’ he said. “The process of the roster is very complex and every decision is taken very seriously . . . a lot of things that go into it.’’
While the Colts clearly were not pleased with Thomas’ penalty, the imminent return of safeties Malik Hooker and Clayton Geathers probably played a bigger role in his departure.