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

By Staff writer

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 playing rules of the National Football League … clearly prohibit non-player personnel — coaches, trainers, equipment staff, security officers or others — from making physical contact with, taunting or directing abusive or insulting language toward opposing players, game officials or others involved in a game,” the statement reads, as reported by NFL Network.

“ … Under no circumstances are club personnel to engage with or make physical contact with another club’s player(s) or other personnel.”

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.”

Dre Greenlaw (57) says that he and Dom DiSandro exchanged apologies after Sunday’s confrontation. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

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.

“Dom is as good as they get in this business,” Sirianni said. “I’m so thankful for him. He’s gonna always try to defuse situations. That’s what he does. That’s his job.

“Obviously unfortunate, yesterday. I know it — in Dom’s heart — he truly was trying to defuse the situation right there. I’m sad that it came to what it came to, that anybody got thrown out of the game.”

Kyle Shanahan ready to move on

Niners coach Kyle Shanahan argued Wednesday that officials and the league overreacted to the entire incident and that neither Greenlaw nor DiSandro deserved ejection or admonishment.

“I think that stuff happens all the time,” Shanahan said. “People break it up, there’s no penalties, and you go back, and you move on with your life, and you get it going. Dre just got ejected. Look at why, then I guess then that guy should, too.

“I don’t want that guy made an example of. I think we should have kept it moving, personally.”