SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) - San Francisco 49ers safety Dashon Goldson insists his fight with Arizona wide receiver Early Doucet was a one-time transgression and said he addressed his teammates and coaches after Sunday's 23-7 win over the Cardinals regarding the mistake.
At the end of a play early in the fourth quarter, Goldson was down away from the ball when he got blindsided and slapped on the back of the helmet by Doucet. Goldson jumped up, confronted him and both began swinging wildly. Goldson then threw a series of punches to Doucet's facemask and received a 15-yard personal foul penalty before being ejected.
"What happened is he was running his route and we kind of ran into each other and we both fell. I'm looking around to see if the ref saw anything and all I feel is two punches to the head," Goldson said Monday. "I just got up and retaliated. It wasn't a smart thing. It wasn't a smart decision on my behalf. I kind of lost it. That's just something I can't do as a vet and as a leader on this football team. I expressed that to my football team yesterday and to my coaches and let them know I'm willing to accept my punishment whatever the case may be and it won't happen again."
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said in an email that the league doesn't plan to suspend Goldson, who will get word on a potential fine when they are handed down Friday.
Doucet said after the game that Goldson took a "cheap shot" but he also expects to be fined.
"The ball was thrown and he took a cheap shot at me," Doucet said. "I fell, then I got up. The refs didn't throw the flag. Then I just lost my cool, then I went after him and we had the little scuffle."
49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, whose team is riding an eight-game winning streak and has been in control of the NFC West lead for weeks, questioned the idea that a player can't retaliate. He would like to see referees also flag the first offender, which in this case he says was Doucet.
"Dashon was punched in the back of the head. And then retaliated. What I think needs to be addressed is this mindset that you can't retaliate," Harbaugh said. "Obviously they're not going to see the first one - it's always the second guy that gets caught. And that's the one who's going to get flagged. ... But the first one needs to get addressed. It needs to be officiated and it needs to be a foul. Otherwise, and you wonder if people do it, as soon as the whistle's blown, 'Hey, get the first shot in."'
The 27-year-old Goldson signed a one-year contract as a free agent in August and has started every game during the 2009 and '10 seasons. He has eight starts this year, with 45 tackles, three interceptions and a forced fumble.
Goldson - a fourth-round draft pick out of Washington in 2007 - has spent his entire career with San Francisco.
Whatever the circumstances on Sunday, Goldson said he won't lose his cool like that again.
"It was more kind of anger and disrespect, all those things. I really didn't feel anything, I just felt two punches, like it was kind of a cheap shot and I retaliated," he said. "Just adrenalin going in the heat of the moment. You're just out there throwing punches."