Jackson ready for NFL fine after late hit on Texans QB Mills


Rookie Drake Jackson is fully prepared for one of his first rites of passage as an NFL player -- being fined.

The 49ers' young defensive end was penalized for roughing the passer during San Francisco’s 17-0 preseason loss to the Houston Texans Thursday night after taking quarterback Davis Mills down to the NRG Stadium turf.

As Jackson rushed in from the outside, he made contact with Mills just after the signal-caller released the ball. And he made it clear on Instagram after the game that he knows a fine might be coming his way for the hit.

“They gon fine my ahh I already know,” Jackson shared on his Instagram story, along with a clip of the play and a facepalm emoji. “Come on NFL, let me get a warning.”

The laughing emoji accompanying Jackson’s post shows the second-round pick is taking the rookie mistake in stride, though some might think it was a questionable call.

Roughing is called on a pass rusher if the player “clearly should have known that the ball had already left the passer’s hand before contact was made,” per the NFL rulebook, and the pass rusher can only make contact through their first step after the ball is released (and prior to their second step hitting the ground).

It’s clear that Jackson made contact with Mills after his first step had hit the ground but before his second step did so. The call is left up to the referee’s judgment, however, and the pass appeared visible to Jackson as he closed in on the quarterback.

Regardless of whether or not Jackson believes it was the right call, the rookie obviously expects to pay a fine for his actions. Players can be fined $15,914 for their first roughing the passer offense if deemed devastating enough and $21,218 for their second offense. Comparatively, a late hit in the NFL constitutes a $10,609 fine for a player’s first offense and $15,914 for the second.

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New York Jets linebacker Quincy Williams recently was fined $10,609 for his late hit on Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts in Week 1 of the preseason, though the contact was much more violent than Jackson’s tackle and came as Hurts went out of bounds.

Sadly for Jackson, there are no warnings for NFL rookies -- even when it’s their first offense.

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