Antrel Rolle was penalized for a personal foul yesterday after a skirmish with Eagles tight end Brent Celek. It gave the Eagles 15 yards towards their only touchdown of the game, but Rolle said he was glad he did it.
“I felt like they were cheap-shotting a little bit, they kept trying to put their hands up in my face mask, kept grinding after the play,” Rolle said. “I just had to let them know I’m not a pushover. I’m not a punk by any means. Sometimes you have to put your foot down, even if it costs you a little bit. Sometimes it has to be done. It’s more about mental toughness and attitude than anything sometimes. That’s where I was going with that. I wasn’t going to get myself ejected, I wasn’t going to throw any blows, but at the same time I was going to stand my ground.
That’s Rolle’s thinking. And he said his teammates know where he’s coming from. But does his head coach?
“Antrel is a tough kid,” Tom Coughlin said. “He really plays well down at the line of scrimmage, he’s very physical. I think for all of us, in a game with so many emotions going on, it really is important to grab a hold of yourself and stay under control. You never know what’s going to happen when something happens and you’re out of control. You could be ejected, you can cost your team valuable yardage in penalties. At the half he thought exactly the way I’m expressing. Hopefully he’ll learn and we’ll all learn from it.”
Rolle doesn’t sound like a guy who has learned, either from Coughlin or the FedEx envelopes that the NFL continues to send his way.
“When I play the game I play the game,” Rolle said. “The coaching gets done Monday through Saturday. Sunday when I’m on the field I’m in the zone. If I feel like something needs to be done I’m going to handle it. I’ll take care of disciplinary actions after that. … I think I definitely had to make a statement and hold my ground. I just felt like sometimes it’s bigger than the game. I didn’t want them to get that attitude over us, like they have more swag than us or they have more passion or more desire or even more toughness. That’s where it came from.”
Rolle said he was surprised that the play drew a penalty for unnecessary roughness/ “On who?” he asked. “He was the one beating me up.”
Indeed, Celek and Rolle got tangled up early and didn’t let go of each other. It happened a play after DeSean Jackson floated onto the Giants’ bench and the teams had what referee Jeff Triplette called a “scuffle.” Celek wound up with his helmet off, and while it looked like Rolle may have torn it off the tight end, replays showed that Celek actually removed his own helmet.
Rolle doesn’t care. Asked how Celek’s helmet came off, Rolle just shrugged.
“I think I grabbed it,” he said. “He had mine. It’s all fun and games. After the game Celek comes up to me and says I love to battle, I love going against you. I tell him the same thing. You give him a hug, you give him a tap on the a-- and say we’ll see you next time. It’s never anything personal.”