Shanahan: Shocked if ‘first-time offender' Greenlaw suspended


Not even 24 hours after stating he was perplexed by the Dre Greenlaw ejection in the 49ers’ 22-16 win over the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday night, Kyle Shanahan remains puzzled about the decision. 

“It's similar to how I felt yesterday,” Shanahan told reporters on Monday after watching the play again. “I haven't got a chance to talk to anybody. I know [general manager] John [Lynch] did, but he definitely hit helmets with him, so I fully understood the penalty.

"John got to speak with them, so I'll probably speak with John later in here, but we'll get the information from them and whatever it is, we'll try to help our players and see how they can avoid it.”

Immediately after the win, Shanahan said he didn’t think the ejection was warranted and added that it “actually blew my mind.” The head coach did admit he hadn’t watched a replay, but put that at the top of his to-do list as soon as he got home.  

While Shanahan understands the penalty and agrees Greenlaw did come helmet-to-helmet with Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert during the play, he knows his linebacker’s motive was solely on getting the tackle

“I do feel the same as far as I know Dre's intent on the play and what he was trying to do and he's trying to stop him from getting a first and nothing more,” Shanahan added. “So hopefully with John talking to them, we'll be able to understand it and hopefully we'll be able to tell him something to try to help him prevent it.” 

The play occurred just before halftime when Herbert scrambled up the middle and tried to dive forward before being tackled from behind by 49ers safety Jimmie Ward. But Ward's hit launched Herbert forward, resulting in Greenlaw's helmet colliding with Herbert's as the young QB went down. 

The play initially drew a penalty flag for a helmet-to-helmet foul from the officials, who after deliberating, ultimately opted to eject Greenlaw, in addition to the 15-yard penalty. 

NFL senior vice president of officiating Walt Anderson talked to The Athletic's Matt Barrows about the controversial call and why the league office deemed the penalty "flagrant." Basically, the timing, the manner and the fact that Herbert already was down (from Ward's tackle) played a factor in the decision. 

RELATED: Shocking stats show how 49ers' D stifled Chargers in second half

It's a tricky situation and sometimes can be controversial, but these calls and the reasoning behind them are extremely important for the health and safety of all players. 

While Shanahan admits he has some things to learn on the matter, he doesn't believe there should be any further punishment and doesn't believe a suspension on Greenlaw is necessary. 

“I haven't talked to anyone, but, yeah, I'm not expecting him to, but I don't know," Shanahan said on whether he's heard anything about Greenlaw being suspended. "I just finished with the players and really came right into here. But yeah, I'd be very surprised if he was.

"Dre, I don't know, I feel like he's almost a first-time offender. It is not something he's done much and I think he's been pretty good at that stuff, so that’s why it'd surprise me.” 

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