Antrel Rolle, Tom Coughlin caught off guard by camera
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There are times when people are frustrated and look around and have no idea who to turn to and vent those feelings. And then there are times like the one for Tom Coughlin on Thursday night when, after Antrel Rolle was injured running into a camera man positioned outside the end zone, he happened to cross paths with the NFL executive vice president for football operations.
Just the man he was looking for!
"I kind of looked at Ray Anderson and I said: 'We're so concerned about player safety, can't we do something about this? Can't we get people away from the sideline enough that a guy going as fast as he was going and flying through the air doesn't put his knee into a camera?'" Coughlin said Friday. "I think that's something we can do something about. We ought to be able to clear the playing field so that a guy can play."
Rolle suffered a bruise and laceration on his left knee when he was covering a pass thrown to Greg Olsen in the end zone. Olsen barreled through two camera operators who were covering the game while Rolle attempted to hurdle one of the videographers who was sitting. His knee clipped the edge of the camera lens.
"I jumped," Rolle said. "I just didn't want to catch my knee in the ground and have a worse injury than I'm presented with today."
Rolle said he was surprised to come across the photographer and his camera and that he'd never come close to crashing into one of them before.
"I never really pay attention to those guys out there, I never realized they were that close," Rolle said. "Some things happen and it's just unfortunate. Hopefully he'll be OK, I'm OK, and we'll make the best of it."
According to NFL rules, everyone seemed to be where they were supposed to be. Most photographers must stay behind a yellow restraining line that is 12 feet from the sideline - six feet behind the six-foot-wide white border that surrounds the field - but those working for NFL Films and for the network televising the game are allowed to come a little bit closer. They have a restraining line that is three feet closer to the field, a mere nine feet from the border between inbounds and out of bounds.
The camera operator in this case was working for NFL Network, which was broadcasting the game. Brad Nessler referred to him as "our guy Vince" on the broadcast.
Rolle seemed to have some fun with the play once the initial scare subsided.
"Out of all the football I've played, this is how I get injured," he chuckled on Thursday night in the postgame locker room. "I guess I have to toughen up a little bit if I get taken out by the camera."
Coughlin was not seeing the humor in it, particularly when he met with Anderson on the sideline.
"It was just in passing," Coughlin said. "I was going one way and Ray was going the other and I was upset because I'd just left my player on the ground. The player is laying there and I don't think he's coming back in this game.
"Thank goodness . . . I don't think he's going to miss anything or any time," Coughlin said. "But it didn't have to happen."