SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- San Francisco 49ers safety Dashon Goldson says the NFL has notified him of a $21,000 fine for an illegal hit Sunday night against New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez.
Goldson, who has garnered the reputation as one of the NFL's hardest hitters, plans to appeal.
Hearing from the league office isn't anything new for Goldson, who estimates he has been fined $70,000 for socks, pants and other violations during his six-year career.
The Hawk, as teammates call Goldson for swooping in for shots on receivers, said the fines still won't change the way he plays when the 49ers (10-3-1) face the Seahawks (9-5) Sunday night in Seattle, with a chance to clinch the NFC West title.
"I don't have time to sit there and dictate in the timespan I have as a football player when I'm on the football field to dictate what's a clean and what's a not-so-clean hit," Goldson said. "I'm not a dirty player. And that's just that."
Goldson, playing on a one-year, $6.2 million contract, has been fined on multiple occasions. Among them:
• $7,875 for a late hit on sliding Rams quarterback Sam Bradford on Dec. 2.
• $7,875 for taunting -- unsportsmanlike conduct -- after tackling Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch in October.
• $25,000 for punching Arizona receiver Early Doucet in November 2011 (Doucet was fined $10,000 for unnecessary roughness for striking Goldson in the helmet area).
• $5,000 for a late hit on Raiders receiver Louis Murphy in October 2010.
In his most recent offense, officials whistled Goldson for a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after he barreled into Hernandez as the tight end was still in the air and turning to make a catch in the third quarter of San Francisco's 41-34 victory in Foxborough. Goldson put his feet together, spread his arms out wide and looked to the sky in a celebration that is becoming routine in San Francisco's secondary.
Niners defensive coordinator Vic Fangio disagreed with the call, but he understands that it's part of the NFL's safety-first approach to protect defenseless receivers.
"He wrapped the guy up, hit him right here in the chest area," Fangio said. "I think what's happened, if it looks bad, the league has told officials to err on the side of caution."
The violent collisions are a staple of San Francisco's defense.
Goldson believes the style is a big reason why the 49ers are tied with the Seahawks for the best scoring defense in the league, allowing only 15.6 points per game. On the next play against the Patriots, for instance, Hernandez looked timid and had a pass from Tom Brady pop off his hands that Aldon Smith scooped up for an interception.
"Hits like that get wide receivers the short hands," Goldson said. "It's been proven throughout this league for years, and it's been proven since me and Donte (Whitner) have been back there making hits and our whole defense."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.