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Lions' Matt Patricia on ejection of Jamie Collins: 'You can't touch an official'

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News

A day after Jamie Collins was ejected from his debut with the Detroit Lions, coach Matt Patricia confirmed he had discussed the incident with the veteran linebacker and that everyone on the team needs to understand the rules when it comes to touching an official. 

Lions linebacker Jamie Collins was ejected from Sunday's game against the Bears.

"Yep, I've spoken to him at length and spoken to the team," Patricia said Monday. "Look, I think the bottom line is there are rules in place for a reason and it's to protect everybody that's out on the field, including the officials. Everybody knows that. Whether it's an honest mistake or not, you just can't do that. That's the bottom line.

"Jamie, he understands that," Patricia continued. "He knows that. He just was trying to demonstrate, more so than do anything aggressive. It was more, 'Hey, this is what's going on.' Unfortunately, got too close. It's not OK. We know that. We can't afford to lose a great player at the beginning game. It's a hard lesson for everybody to learn, but it's another reminder about those situation. ...You can't touch an official. It is what it is."

Collins was ejected in the second quarter of Sunday's loss to the Bears when he bumped official Alex Kemp while trying to express concerns about the Bears running back David Montgomery illegally lowering their helmets. 

Kemp explained the decision after the game. 

“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.”

According to the rule, “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.”

“I judged it as unnecessary, so I called a foul,” Kemp said. “I decided to eject the player.”

Collins, an eight-year veteran, signed a three-year contract with the Lions as a free agent this offseason.  

jdrogers@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @Justin_Rogers