NFL Issues Surprise Ruling on Player Who Concussed Andy Dalton: Report

Jon Bostic hit on Andy Dalton

Getty Jon Bostic hit on Andy Dalton

Jon Bostic will not be further punished for his violent helmet-to-helmet hit which forced Dallas Cowboys QB Andy Dalton into the league’s concussion protocol.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Monday the Washington linebacker isn’t expected to face NFL suspension despite being ejected from Sunday’s win over Dallas due to the severity of his cheap shot.

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In a Monday radio interview, Cowboys VP Stephen Jones declined to comment on Bostic’s non-discipline. But Jones did defend his players after head coach Mike McCarthy publicly admonished them for failing to come to Dalton’s defense.

“Obviously Coach McCarthy had some things to say about that and we’ll move forward as we go,” he said on 105.3 The Fan, via USA Today. “Andy has tremendous respect on this football team.”

Neither Dalton, who reportedly flew home with the team Sunday evening, nor Bostic, almost certain to be heftily fined, were made available to the media.

Washington defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio served as the mediator, acknowledging that although it was a “dumb penalty,” Bostic had “no malicious intent” to injure the 31-year-old QB, who was in the process of sliding.

“He thought the guy didn’t slide soon enough, that’s what he said to me,” Del Rio relayed, via Nicki Jhabvala of the Washington Post. “When they’re bang-bang plays that happen like that, I think we have to be better there. So, anyway, we move on.

“But there was no malicious intent or any of that kind of thing from Jon. Jon’s a good human being and a good player for us, and it’s just one of those deals. He hit him where you can’t hit him and got flagged accordingly.”

Dalton will need to pass through the various stages of concussion protocol to play in next Sunday night’s road tilt against the Philadelphia Eagles. Rookie Ben DiNucci, who completed 2-of-3 passes for 39 yards in his debut, will take the bulk of first-string reps in preparation for Week 8, Jones confirmed.

If Dalton cannot get cleared, DiNucci will draw the start, with third-stringer Garrett Gilbert — inactive at Washington — functioning as the backup. Jones also indicated he’ll scour the free-agent and trade markets as a contingency.

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McCarthy Unhappy About Response

As Dalton lay crumpled on the FedEx Field turf, his teammates were loafing around nowhere near Bostic. There wasn’t a sense of urgency nor an instinct of retaliation, a natural impulse to defend their own. And that’s a McCarthy cardinal sin.

“We speak all the time about playing for one another, protecting one another. Definitely, it was probably not the response you would expect,” he said after the 25-3 loss to the Football Team.

Bostic’s cheapshot is indefensible. But just as indefensible is the reaction — or distinct lack thereof — from the 10 other Cowboys on the field, none of whom stood up for the veteran QB. Including star running back Ezekiel Elliott, who agreed it’s a “fair” assessment of the incident. But …

“If you go in there and throw a punch and you get kicked out the game, you can’t help the team from the sideline,” Elliott added, via the team’s official website. “You can’t help the team from the locker room. So we’ve got to find a way to not cross that line, but we’ve still got to protect our guys.”

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Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL