NFL warns teams against staff-involved confrontations after ‘Big Dom’-Dre Greenlaw flap in 49ers-Eagles game

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The NFL sent a memo Wednesday warning teams against staff interactions with opposing players in the aftermath of Sunday’s confrontation between San Francisco 49ers linebacker Dre Greenlaw and Philadelphia Eagles security staffer “Big Dom” DiSandro.

The memo goes on to state that “this has been made clear on numerous occasions” alongside a vow that the league will “diligently enforce these rules and assess accountability measures on both individuals and clubs as appropriate.”

The NFL reportedly launched an investigation into the incident, which could result in disciplinary measures for DiSandro and the Eagles. Wednesday’s memo did not address DiSandro, Greenlaw, the Eagles or the 49ers directly.

Things got heated between Greenlaw and DiSandro during Sunday’s 49ers win after Greenlaw’s hard tackle of Eagles receiver DeVonta Smith along the Eagles sideline. The hit after the whistle drew a flag on Greenlaw.

DiSandro — the Eagles’ head of security — was standing nearby and stepped between Greenlaw and Smith in the aftermath of the tackle. He then shoved Greenlaw, prompting Greenlaw to swipe at his face. Greenlaw grazed DiSandro’s face, and the exchange led to both being ejected from the game.

The incident has sparked debate over whether Greenlaw should’ve been ejected for a relatively minor physical altercation instigated by an Eagles staffer. The ejections added up to a net positive for the Eagles, who saw a key 49ers defender ejected without losing anybody on their side who has a tangible impact on the game.

Greenlaw says he, DiSandro exchanged apologies

Meanwhile, all appears to be well between Greenlaw and DiSandro.

In his first public statement since the incident, Greenlaw told reporters Wednesday that he and DiSandro exchanged apologies through an intermediary. The 49ers linebacker also vouched for DiSandro’s character — at least what he knows of him.

“He seemed like a genuine guy, a guy everybody loved in the building,” Greenlaw said, per the San Jose Mercury News. “Honestly, I really hate it even escalated and went to that. It’s something I’ve never been a part of or seen in a game.”

Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni stood up for DiSandro on Monday, telling reporters at his news conference that he believes the security staffer was attempting to “defuse” the situation.

A September 13 memo from the league to all teams specifically targeted “non-player personnel conduct.”

“Rule 13, Article 8 of the 2023 Official Playing Rules states the following: Non-player personnel of a club (e.g., management personnel, coaches, trainers, equipment personnel) are prohibited from making unnecessary physical contact with or directing abusive, threatening, or insulting language or gestures at opponents, game officials, or representatives of the League,” explains the memo, a copy of which PFT has obtained. “Violations before or during the game may also result in disqualification. Any violations at the game site on the day of the game, including postgame, may result in discipline by the Commissioner. As a coach or a member of the club’s staff on the sidelines, you must make it a top priority to exemplify the NFL values of integrity, resiliency, respect, and responsibility to team. You must set a standard of excellence for everyone, including your players.

“Inappropriate and abusive conduct towards game officials will not be tolerated and will result [in] accountability measures in addition to the on-field penalty. In addition to interactions with NFL game officials, there are situations that arise during the course of a game when you may interact with an opposing player(s). You must handle all of these situations with professionalism and avoid conduct that may provoke an opponent or lead to an escalation of an incident.”

Obviously, DiSandro’s involvement in attempting to separate Greenlaw from Eagles receiver DeVonta Smith provoked a punch from Greenlaw. Although some might say DiSandro was simply trying to keep the peace, others could say DiSandro’s actions instigated the conduct that got Greenlaw ejected.

In addition to these memos, a source with knowledge of the situation tells PFT that the league office communicated with both teams in advance of the game, due to concerns that incidents could occur between the two teams. The NFL did not specifically confirm such communications; however, the league often has conversations with clubs before games.

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