Unfortunately, Detroit Lions linebacker Jamie Collins was ejected in the first half of the NFL Sunday season opener against the Chicago Bears for showing inappropriate behavior after making contact with an official.

Maybe the referee went overboard and gave him the boot without a valid reason.  At that moment, with 12:24 left in the second quarter, the game was tied at 3-3.  For anyone who saw the game or the footage, it’s hard to believe referee Alex Kemp could have made the right call.

NFL Refs Flag-Happy

Up until now, it’s not clear what Collins was trying to do at that time; maybe he tried to explain how Bears running back David Montgomery potentially put down his head on the 1-yard run Collins had made the tackle on the play before.  What is for sure is that Collins lowered his head and made contact with the official’s chest, although it doesn’t appear that Collins meant to touch Kemp.   However, the ref threw the flag and ejected Collins from the game.

The action took place following a 16-yard run by Bears running back David Montgomery.  It seems that Collins was unhappy, and he started protesting that Montgomery was illegally putting down his head as a runner and he showed the action.  Unfortunately, it was deemed a penalty.

Kemp Pleads His Case

After the game, Kemp stated he saw Collins coming close to him and that players are allowed to touch officials.  Players can put their hands on their shoulders; however, he considered Collins’ actions unnecessary and chances are that Kemp felt threatened.  Without a doubt, it was not a violent or malicious incident.  Collins didn’t even hit the referee, it was only a touch with the helmet, and Kemp’s defensive reaction was just as much a cause of the contact as Collins’ movements.

Kemp said he made a decision to expel Collins from the contest and that he might not have reacted in a different way because the NFL establishes this as unsportsmanlike behavior.  Maybe Collins intended to do something else, but rules are rules.  Kemp mentions he sanctioned the unnecessary contact that was eventually considered as a bizarre head-butt; however, Collins won’t be fined or penalized further for the call.

Kemp explains, “[Players] are allowed to touch officials, put a hand on your shoulder, or something of that nature.  But unnecessary contact with a game official — it’s Rule 12-3-1-E — covers unnecessary contact to a game official.  So, that’s what I went with.”

The rule mentioned above establishes: “Unnecessary physical contact with a game official. Under no circumstance is a player allowed to shove, push, or strike an official in an offensive, disrespectful, or unsportsmanlike manner. The player shall be disqualified from the game.”

The Lions Expect Great Things From Collins

Collins started his first game for Detroit on Sunday after signing a contract with the team in free agency.  Straight away, he became one of the Lion’s key players on defense and had three tackles with a quarterback hit.  He also defended a pass in the quarter-plus he played before being ejected.  Also, Lions cornerback Justin Coleman was sidelined for the rest of the game after suffering a hamstring injury.  Losing both of these players could have contributed to the Bears being able to mount a 17-point comeback that helped them eventually win the game.

Collins is a seven-year veteran and one-time Pro Bowler.  He signed a three-year contract worth $30 million to join the Lions and head coach Matt Patricia, who was his defensive coordinator when he was with the New England Patriots before Patricia was named Lions head coach in 2018.  It was the first time Collins has been ejected in the eight years he’s been with the league.  Interpret the hit as you like, but it was an overzealous call on the part of Kemp.