By Doug Farrar
September 18, 2013

Dashon Goldson has gotten a reprieve and will play against the Patriots. (Chris O'Meara/AP)

For the second straight season, the NFL has overturned a one-game suspension given to a safety in the name of the league's safety initiative. Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Dashon Goldson, suspended by the league on Monday for an egregious hit on New Orleans Saints running back Darren Sproles, has won an appeal and will be able to play against the New England Patriots this Sunday.

According to Alex Marvez of FOX Sports, Matt Birk of the league's appeal board decided to overturn the suspension and fine Goldson $100,000 instead. Goldson would have lost $264,705.88 in salary had he missed that game. Birk also upheld the $30,000 fine Goldson got for a hit on New York Jets tight end Jeff Cumberland in Week 1. Since 2010, Goldson has more personal fouls (15) than any other NFL player.

“You had an unobstructed path to your opponent,” NFL VP of Football Operations Merton Hanks wrote to Goldson about the hit on Sproles. “It is clear that you lowered your head and unnecessarily rammed the left side of your helmet into the left side of your opponent’s head. You delivered a forceful blow with your helmet and made no attempt whatsoever to wrap up your opponent or make a conventional tackle on the play. This illegal contact clearly could have been avoided.”

Last November, Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed won an appeal of his one-game suspension for a hit on Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Emmanuel Sanders. NFL executive vice president of football operations Ray Anderson issued the suspension, and Ted Cottrell of the appeal board overturned it, fining Reed $50,000 instead.

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