The NFL has fined Cleveland Browns rookie defensive tackle Gerard Warren $35,000, and the Jaguars' Sean Dawkins, Damon Jones and Kevin Hardy didn't escape the league's wrath, either.
Hardy has received a $10,000 fine for having stepped on Cleveland quarterback Tim Couch's hand, and Dawkins and Jones have each been fined $5,000 for taunting incidents.
"I'm disappointed. I thought it clearly should've been a suspension, but I'm pleased the league thought the severity of the violation warranted a stiff fine. I thought $35,000 was an appropriate fine," Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver said of the league's penalty for Warren's hit on quarterback Mark Brunell this past Sunday.
Warren's fine is for "both unnecessary contact on a passer after a change of possession and unnecessary roughness in the Browns' game against Jacksonville," in language distributed by the league today. His helmet-to-helmet hit on Brunell on the Jaguars' first offensive play of the game resulted in Brunell suffering a concussion that caused him to exit the game early in the second quarter.
NFL Director of Football Operations Gene Washington, who administers discipline for player-against-player violations, said in a letter to Warren that his hit on Brunell was a "violation of Rule 12, Section 2, Article 11(7), which states that a passer 'must not be unnecessarily contacted by the defense … in the event of a change of possession on the play, until the passer assumes a distinctly defensive position.'
"Your hit also violates Rule 12, Section 2, Article 8, which states that there 'shall be no unnecessary roughness.' Your hit on Brunell … was plainly both violent and unnecessary under the circumstances. The hit could not be justified by Brunell's place on the field relative to the play itself, nor by any action taken by Brunell following the change of possession. Indeed, Brunell at most took a tentative step toward the play; it was hardly necessary for you to race across the field at top speed and strike him in the most dangerous possible way," the league release quoted Washington as having written to Warren.
Warren was also involved in another incident in this past Sunday's game. Near the Browns sideline in the second quarter, Warren deliberately stepped on Dawkins' ankle and calf as Dawkins was on the ground. That caused Dawkins to confront Warren, and that resulted in a "taunting" penalty that will cost Dawkins $5,000.
Dawkins and Jones were furious at the fines they received.
"That's my first experience in dealing with a team that does stuff like that," Dawkins said today.