Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Dashon Goldson's one-game suspension for a helmet-to-helmet hit on New Orleans Saints running back Darren Sproles has been reduced to a $100,000 fine.
The NFL confirmed in a statement released Wednesday that Goldson won his appeal of the suspension. The two-time Pro Bowler will be eligible to play Sunday against the New England Patriots.
"I know there are going to be a lot of eyes on me from now on. And that's OK. I just have to be smart," Goldson said Wednesday. "I'm not trying to hurt my team and I'm definitely not trying to hurt myself with the way I play."
Goldson wasn't the only Buccaneers player to be fined for a hit last Sunday. Safety Ahmad Black was fined $21,000 for a hit on Saints tight end Jimmy Graham, a team source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.
Goldson's discipline was reduced by Matt Birk, an independent appeals officer appointed by the NFL and the players' union.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said he had not seen Birk's decision but noted that Goldson received a "substantial fine" that shows "a violation of the rule has consequences."
"Players are adapting to the rules and techniques," Goodell said, adding that "the culture doesn't change overnight."
Saints quarterback Drew Brees was asked Wednesday about Goldson's fine and said the safety's had "a lot of those."
"He certainly has no regard for the rules in the middle. He's going after guys' heads. You can see it," Brees said. "So obviously $100,000 is a pretty hefty fine. And I'm sure if it continues to happen, it'll be even greater punishment than that."
Goldson's hit on Sproles came one week after he was fined $30,000 for hitting New York Jets tight end Jeff Cumberland during the Buccaneers' Week 1 loss. The one-game suspension would have cost Goldson in the neighborhood of $265,000.
Goldson was flagged for his hit on Sproles, as he was for the hit on Cumberland. The league also announced Wednesday that Birk upheld the $30,000 fine for Goldson's hit on Cumberland.
"I'm an aggressive player. We all know that across the league," Goldson said. "I've never tried to hurt anybody. I try to keep my hits within the rules. And that's what I'll do week in and week out. I have to make sure I get guys to the ground, but at the same time I have to be careful."
The Buccaneers committed 10 penalties for 118 yards in a 16-14 loss to the Saints, one week after committing 13 penalties for 102 yards against the Jets. Tampa Bay's 220 yards in penalties are the most in the NFL; its 23 penalties are tied for the most with the San Francisco 49ers.
From 2010 through Monday, Goldson has drawn 15 personal fouls, more than any other player in the league.
Goldson is in his first season with the Buccaneers, signing a five-year, $41.25 million contract in the offseason. The 28-year-old safety had played his first six seasons with the 49ers.
Through two games, Goldson has been a crucial part of Tampa Bay's improvement in the secondary. On passes thrown at least 21 yards downfield, the Buccaneers have allowed a total QBR of 57.1, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Over the previous two seasons, the Buccaneers allowed a total QBR of 97.5 on those passes.
ESPN's Adam Schefter and Ed Werder, ESPN.com Buccaneers reporter Pat Yasinskas, ESPN.com Saints reporter Mike Triplett and The Associated Press contributed to this report.