Dashon Goldson's playing style has earned him discipline from the NFL. And respect from Tom Brady.
The Patriots quarterback says the Buccaneers hard-hitting safety is one of his favorite players.
"Why? If I were a safety, I'd try to play like him. He's a great player," Brady said.
Goldson will play for Tampa Bay against New England on Sunday after appeals office Matt Birk reduced his punishment for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Darren Sproles of New Orleans from a one-game suspension to a $100,000 fine.
Goldson signed with the Bucs in the offseason as a free agent after six years with San Francisco.
"I played against him last year, always kind of watched him as a 49er," Brady said. "He was a big reason why that defense was so good last year and now he's playing for Tampa. He's already made a big impact. He's a very good player and practicing against him you see why."
The Patriots and Bucs held joint practices before their exhibition game this summer.
In a 41-34 win over the Patriots last season, Goldson had four tackles, a fumble recovery and a pass defensed for the 49ers. This season he has 16 tackles in two games.
Goldson was suspended one game without pay Monday for flagrant and repeat violations of NFL safety rules prohibiting hits to the head and neck area of defenseless players. He was penalized for unnecessary roughness last Sunday for the hit on Sproles, Goldson's fifth violation for unnecessary roughness since 2011.
UFA TIME FOR FALCONS: It has been a rough week for the Falcons, who lost defensive end Kroy Biermann and fullback Bradie Ewing for the season, linebacker Sean Weatherspoon for eight weeks, and also announced running back Steven Jackson won't play this week at Miami.
The rash of injuries might be even more devastating if the Falcons had not added depth by signing three undrafted rookies who made the roster.
Two of those rookies, linebackers Joplo Bartu of Texas State and Paul Worrilow of Delaware, will be needed to help replace Weatherspoon. Bartu didn't need Weatherspoon's injury to create his opportunity; he started ahead of Stephen Nicholas against the Rams last Sunday.
A third undrafted rookie, offensive tackle Ryan Schraeder of Valdosta State, is a top backup.
Coach Mike Smith said having three undrafted rookies on the active roster "speaks volumes about the work our scouting staff does."
"It's not just about the seven, eight or nine draft picks that you have," Smith said. "It's the guys you add to your roster who are undrafted. The three guys not only made our roster but they're going to have an opportunity to play a significant amount of snaps for us."
TOGETHER WE MAKE FOOTBALL: The NFL wants fans to tell their stories, and is offering strong incentives to do so.
Inspired by 10-year-old youth football player Samantha Gordon, who starred in a highlight video last year that caught the attention of Commissioner Roger Goodell, the league has developed "Together We Make Football — Your Story." Fans are invited to tell how the sport has touched them in a video of up to five minutes in length, or an essay of no more than 1,000 words, accompanied by up to five photos.
Stories submitted to TogetherWeMakeFootball.com by Nov. 5 will be entered into a contest. Ten of the stories will be turned into vignettes to be unveiled on Thanksgiving weekend and aired during games throughout December.
Five overall winners, chosen by a fan vote, will have their stories built into an NFL Films documentary. The winners will be honored at the Super Bowl.
Academy Award-winning actor Forest Whitaker will narrate the campaign.
DURABLE HIKER: Miami Dolphins long snapper John Denney will break the franchise record for consecutive games when he plays in his 131st in a row Sunday against Atlanta.
"That's a wonderful feat," teammate Jared Odrick said. "When I have my first son, I'm going to teach him how to long snap."
Denney, a two-time Pro Bowler, joined the Dolphins in 2005 and has been with them longer than any other current player. At 34, he's their oldest player.
Last week Denney tied defensive end Jason Taylor's record of 130 consecutive games.
MAUALUGA CHILLIN': One moment of frustration still pains Bengals middle linebacker Rey Maualuga.
He lost his cool during the closing minutes of a 24-21 opening loss at Chicago, costing the Bengals a chance to get the ball one last time. With 66 seconds left, the Bears failed to convert a third down and were getting ready to punt. Maualuga and a Bear had an exchange as the play ended, and the linebacker threw him to the ground, drawing a penalty that allowed the Bears to run out the clock.
Pretty ugly play for the defensive captain. Coach Marvin Lewis talked to him about it in the trainer's room after the game.
"Who knows what could have happened," Maualuga said this week. "In a perfect world, we might have drove the ball down and got enough space for our kicker to kick a field goal and tie the game and hopefully win. But nobody will know.
"Obviously people were frustrated in the locker room. There's nothing you can do about it. You've just got to get over it and learn from the mistakes, and I sure did."
When the Bengals and Steelers had a scrum near the end of Cincinnati's 20-10 win on Monday night, Maualuga stayed out of it. Pittsburgh's LaMarr Woodley was the only one penalized.
"No flags were thrown on our side," Maualuga said. "We did good. Everybody learned from it."
AP Sports Writers Joe Kay, Charles Odum, Steven Wine, Josh Dubow and Howard Ulman contributed to this story.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org