(Oct. 22)--Tennessee cornerback Samari Rolle was fined $7,500 by the NFL on Monday for a helmet-to-helmet hit that left Jacksonville quarterback Mark Brunell with a concussion.
Jacksonville coach Tom Coughlin complained almost immediately to the NFL about the play, in which Rolle hit Brunell at the sideline on the first series of the Oct. 13 game. Brunell played one more series, then left with a headache.
No penalty was called on the play, and the Titans won 23-14.
NFL spokesman Steve Alic confirmed that the fine was for unnecessary roughness, specifically Rolle's ``helmet-to-helmet contact with the Jacksonville quarterback.''
Rolle, who is in his fifth season, was not happy with the fine -- his first for a play on the field.
"I honestly feel if I'd known I was going to get fined, I should've just gone ahead and got my money's worth instead of trying to play within the rules and still be fined," Rolle said after practice.
Tennessee coach Jeff Fisher, co-chairman of the league's competition committee, called it a clean hit but admitted he doesn't have all the video feeds the NFL has. He also said plenty of clean hits wind up being fined for helmet-to-helmet contact, but he thinks quarterbacks have a responsibility to protect themselves.
"I'd tell the quarterback to do something different. I'd tell the quarterback to go down, get out of bounds, don't try to throw across your body, those kinds of things. The rule states it's 100 percent the responsibility of the defensive player to avoid helmet-to-helmet contact," Fisher said.
"But in this situation, it could very well have been avoided if the quarterback had just gone out of bounds."
The left-handed Brunell wound up throwing the ball downfield to tight end Kyle Brady as he ran toward the right sideline. Rolle said Brunell has been playing long enough to expect being hit on such a play, and Fisher agreed.
"Mark made the decision to try to make a play," Fisher said. "You're going to get hit when someone's bearing in on you. It was not intentional. Samari didn't try to intentionally hurt him."
The Titans have said repeatedly that they see Steve McNair hit hard in every game without penalties or fines.
McNair has studied videotape of the play and thinks his teammate had a clean hit.
"Guys are after us every week," McNair said of quarterbacks. "We have to be on top of our game."