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Auburn’s Fairley Getting What He Deserves

Auburn defensive lineman Nick Fairley has made a lot of money this fall.  Don’t worry, Tiger fans, there’s no Kenny Rogers connection here.  What I mean to say is that Fairley’s tremendous season has caused him to shoot up NFL draft boards across the league.  He’ll make some big cash when he lands in the pro game.

Fairley has become a strong candidate to take home SEC Defensive Player of the Year honors at season’s end.  Such talk is deserved.

But so is all the talk of Fairley playing dirty on Saturday. 

Against Georgia, Fairley was guilty of a number of borderline hits.  CBS’s Gary Danielson even called him out at one point.

His shot to Aaron Murray’s knee late in the fourth quarter actually led to Georgia’s attempted retaliation — not smart, either — and the fisticuffs that brought the suspension of two of Fairley’s teammates.

Auburn fans might not want to hear it, but Fairley took some flat-out cheap shots on Saturday.

Watch this video and try to argue otherwise:

A helmet to the back is a dirty play.  Especially when the player lowers his helmet and targets the opponent’s back.  There was no accident here.  This was simply a dirty play.  No way around it. 

Fairley has been so dominant between the whistles this season that it’s completely unnecessary for him to give anybody the business after the whistle.  That’s the disappointing thing in all of this.  All season, Fairley has been building up his reputation as a top-notch defender, but with some poor choices on Saturday, he sullied his reputation and gave writers/talking heads across the country reason to call him a cheap shot artist.

If he’s smart, he’ll learn his lesson (hopefully with the prompting of Gene Chizik) and work on turning the focus from his dirty play back to his outstanding play when the Tigers face Alabama next Friday.



The refs need to say something, then. Because so far, either they're blind or he hasn't been breaking current rules. The refs should inform him of what the "new" limits are. For example, during the Auburn-Georgia game, Newton gave a "spirited" stiff arm to ward off a defender. The ref pulled him aside and said something, probably to the effect of, "If you do that again I'm going to take 15 yards.". That was fair. If you're going to start calling something, let the guy know.

Fairley's spear to the back was bad. But the hit to Murray's knee was not intentional as he was falling out of control after being tackled by two Dawgs.

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