Saints' Jordan wins appeal, critical of NFL's process

New Orleans Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan (94) runs off the field after an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles in Philadelphia, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023. The Saints won 20-10. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke) (Matt Rourke, Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

NEW ORLEANS – Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan says he's won his appeal of the NFL's decision to fine him $50,000 for allegedly faking an injury during a game.

Meanwhile, a person familiar with the situation said the NFL also has rescinded separate fines against the team, head coach Dennis Allen and co-defensive coordinator Ryan Nielsen. The person spoke to the Associated Press about the team fines on condition of anonymity because the NFL has not announced the results of those appeals.

Jordan, who is New Orleans' career sack leader, also questioned the NFL's process for handing down punishment before requesting medical records needed to make an informed ruling.

Jordan said in a text message to The Associated Press on Thursday that the NFL sought and reviewed records from physicians leading up to his recent appeal, but stressed, "shouldn't that have happened before the fine?”

Jordan and his agent, Doug Hendrickson, made public last month that the NFL had fined the 12-year Saints veteran for taking a knee on the field, forcing a timeout, after signaling to the sideline that he'd hurt his foot during the fourth quarter of New Orleans’ 17-16 loss at Tampa Bay on Dec. 5.

The Saints had a 16-3 lead with more than seven minutes remaining, and Tampa Bay was facing a fourth-and-10 on its 25, at the time Jordan's injury stalled the game. When play resumed, the Buccaneers punted.

In a memo sent to teams on Dec. 2 and obtained by The Associated Press, the NFL said the league “continues to emphasize the importance of upholding the integrity of the game and competitive fairness as our highest priority. We have observed multiple instances of clubs making a deliberate attempt to stop play unnecessarily this season.”

The NFL has not publicly discussed its rationale for sanctioning the Saints.

Jordan said he questions why “whomever had a hand in creating this oddity of a rule about fining defensive players for being hurt” didn't formulate a process for investigating allegations before making initial rulings and issuing fines.

The Saints, who as a club also denied wrongdoing, were fined $350,000 by the league office. Allen was fined $100,000 and Nielsen was fined $50,000.

“There should be due process before they announce a fine,” Jordan said. “They announced they'd fine me $50,000 and my team $500,000 in total before the appeal process or even investigating the situation.”

The Saints said that Jordan returned to the Tampa Bay game only after being examined by physicians and having his left foot taped up. They also said a subsequent MRI revealed an acute mid-foot sprain and that Jordan visited Saints headquarters daily during the club’s Week 14 bye to receive treatment.


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