FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — Jamal Adams is throwing a penalty flag on the NFL.
The New York Jets safety is appealing his fine from the league for a roughing the passer call against Cleveland, and said officials later acknowledged they made a mistake.
"What's funny is that after the game, those guys came to the coaching staff and apologized for that call," Adams said Thursday. "But at the same time, those guys have a tough situation, in tough situations like that, as far as calling certain calls. It's very tough for me to get mad at them because they have a tough job at hand, too."
The NFL doesn't dole out fines or discipline players unless a play in question is deemed to be against the rules. Despite Adams' claim the officials apologized, the league ultimately ruled the correct call was made to penalize him for the play.
Adams ranted on Twitter late Wednesday night, calling the NFL a joke for fining him $21,056 for his hit on Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield in the first quarter of New York's 23-3 loss Monday night. He shoved Mayfield with his left forearm just after the Cleveland star threw a pass.
"It bothered me a lot, you know what I mean, because it's kind of like, what do you want me to do?" Adams said. "It was legal. Next time, I might just tag him on the hip and say, 'He's it,' and play tag with him. I don't know what else you want me to do in that situation."
In his Twitter post, he called the league "a damn joke" and was frustrated by the NFL's "soft rules" that protect quarterbacks. On Thursday, Adams didn't back down from those comments.
"Maybe we just need to put red (no-contact) jerseys on quarterbacks," he said. "Just being honest."
When a reporter suggested that wouldn't ever happen, Adams shrugged.
"It might," he said. "I mean, I don't know. Maybe."
Coach Adam Gase implied that he agreed with Adams' claim that it shouldn't have been a penalty.
"I keep looking at it, trying to figure out, I just keep thinking if (Mayfield) doesn't throw it and pump fakes it and he's pulling because (Adams) thinks he's going to throw it and then (Mayfield) gets a first down running it," Gase said. "I'm trying to figure out what's the right thing to tell him as far as how to play that play.
"When I saw it live, I didn't think that that was a bad play, but that's what they called."
Adams, known for his aggressive, hard-hitting style, recognizes the challenge in maintaining his approach within the rules.
"Man, I'm going to continue to play my game," he said. "I never try to hurt this team in any way possible. It is tough, obviously, running at that angle — it's a bang-bang play, him letting it go — but I'm going to continue to play my game, as long as I'm not hurting this team. That's what I care about. Obviously, in that moment, it hurt the team."
Adams said the most frustrating part of the whole situation, though, is the fact it will likely cost him more than $21,000.
"I'm not going to get too in-depth with you because my mother told me to calm down," he said. "She was upset with me that I was cursing last night on social media, so I'm not going to curse now. But that's what I'm mad about — I'm mad about the $21K. That's where it starts, and it was a legal hit — in my opinion.
"It wasn't unnecessary roughness, and if anything, I mean, it didn't look like Baker was in any pain because he got up and talked noise to me. At the end of the day, I guess we can't touch quarterbacks."
It has been a rough week for Adams, who was taken out of the game late after drawing two other penalties on consecutive plays. Adams claimed he was benched, but Gase said he removed the safety just to calm him down.
"As a competitor, I don't want to come out of the game," Adams said, adding that he and Gase have discussed it. "What competitor likes coming out of the game? But we have an understanding. I told him I'm fine. ... Was I upset with it? Yeah, no doubt. But at the end of the day, we've moved on.
"I don't hold grudges."