The NFL has fined Cowboys rookie safety Ahmad Dixon $22,050 for an unnecessary roughness penalty he drew last Saturday in Miami, as he struck “a defenseless player in the head and neck area.”
Dixon can appeal the fine and possibly get it reduced because it exceeds 25 percent of his weekly pay. The rookie seventh-round pick from Baylor will make $420,000 this season or $24,705 for 17 weeks.
Dixon wasn’t the only rookie to draw a fine in that game, either. Linebacker Anthony Hitchens received an $8,268 fine for a facemask infraction.
Dixon built a reputation for hard, borderline illegal, hits during his college days, and that carried into the NFL when he popped Dolphins receiver Matt Hazel on a play in which the ball was clearly overthrown.
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Dixon said he must learn and adjust to the league rules and it’s something that has also been stressed to him by Cowboys officials. Fellow safety J.J. Wilcox said jokingly after the Dolphins game that fines have a tendency to alter a player’s approach.
Dixon had an eventful preseason, to say the least. He came onto the scene in the opener against San Diego on Aug. 7, leading the team with 12 tackles. Then he was benched in the second game against Baltimore because he reported late to the last training camp walkthrough in Oxnard, Calif.
Dixon returned to action the following week against the Dolphins, which is when he delivered the illegal hit. And he finished up his preseason by making three tackles against the Broncos on Thursday night.
“There was some good, but more important for me is what I learned outweighed the good,” Dixon said. “I wouldn’t say it was a good preseason, it wasn’t spectacular. It was all right. I just want to work to get better.”
Dixon showed enough and is expected to make the 53-man roster, although he wasn’t taking his spot for granted.
“I hope I did,” he said. “I pray to God I did. This is where I want to be. I feel I gave them something to evaluate me on, some good film. Just let the film take its course.”