NEW ORLEANS (AP) It wasn”t as bad as it could have been New Orleans Saints coach Jim Haslett originally thought about cutting tackle Kyle Turley or at least suspending him. But it was no slap on the wrist either.
Turley was fined $25,000 for conduct detrimental to the team during Sunday”s game against the New York Jets.
Turley has also agreed to undergo counseling at the team”s request.
Turley attacked Jets safety Damien Robinson when Robinson grabbed the facemask of Saints quarterback Aaron Brooks and twisted it. Turley ripped Robinson”s helmet off and threw it downfield, then made an obscene gesture. His actions got him tossed out of the game. They also drew a 15-yard penalty that ended the Saints” final chance to tie or win the game. The Saints lost 16-9.
“The Saints do not condone such actions,” general manager Randy Mueller said Tuesday. “We believe that the amount of the fine is appropriate for the severity of Kyle”s conduct on the field. We understand that Kyle is a very emotional player, but it is clear that the type of actions he demonstrated last Sunday will not be tolerated.”
Mueller said that Turley will not be suspended by the Saints and is expected to play Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers.
“Unfortunately Kyle”s actions cost us a chance to possibly win a game,” Mueller said. “I would hope that the lesson learned here will bring our team together.”
Turley also faces disciplinary action from the NFL.
Turley was composed, but not contrite, when he spoke to the media Monday.
“It was a very emotional outburst on my part that I need to be a little more mature about,” Turley said. “But I cannot apologize for defending my quarterback and trying to, basically, from my point of view, save his life. The guy was seriously trying to break his neck.”
Trailing 16-9, the Saints marched to the Jets” 6-yard line in the final minute of the game. On second-and-3, Brooks ran to the 5-yard line only to be stopped by Robinson, who grabbed Brooks” face mask.
“I figured I had him bent back when I heard Brooks scream,” Robinson said. “Then I let him go.”
Turley had a different take on the situation.
“I came up on the play and the guy started twisting Aaron”s head back and he started screaming,” Turley said. “I”ve never been placed in a situation like that before where I see my quarterback getting his head turned around like the exorcist.”
Turley, who turned 26 in September, jumped into the pile, grabbing Robinson and eventually his helmet. He emerged without his own helmet, but still clutching Robinson”s, which he flung downfield before making an obscene gesture. By that time the field was littered with players, officials and yellow flags.
“I felt like Turley was trying to break my neck,” Robinson said.
“They pulled my hair, the bunch of girls,” Turley responded. “I got turf burn on my head. I”ve never had turf burn on my head. They were trying to get me when I was down.”
There were offsetting penalties for personal fouls, but Turley, who was thrown out of the game, drew a second 15-yard penalty for throwing the helmet and making the obscene gesture. That put New Orleans on the 20-yard line and ended the scoring threat.
“Driving home (Sunday) night I was thinking about cutting him,” Haslett said. “Monday night, laying in bed, I thought about suspending him. I didn”t see the whole incident on the field. Then I saw it on TV where Damien Robinson was trying to pull Aaron”s head off. Then I talked to Aaron about it and Aaron said he thought he broke his neck. So I can understand why Kyle did it to that point.”
The problem, Haslett said, is that Turley should have dragged Robinson off Brooks and stopped there. Throwing the helmet and making the gesture took it too far.