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NFL fines Jets $100K for tripping incident involving Sal Alosi

12.30.10 at 6:03 pm ET
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The NFL has fined the Jets $100,000 for violating league rules in the tripping incident involving New York strength and conditioning coach Sal Alosi, according to multiple reports.

In an attempt to intimidate Miami’s Nolan Carroll ‘€” who was serving as a “gunner” on punt coverage ‘€” during a Jets-Dolphins game, Alosi appeared to be part of a special teams “wall” that involved other players on the sidelines, and he stuck his knee out, tripping Carroll as he went by. Alosi later apologized for the incident, and the Jets suspended him indefinitely.

After the incident, Jets special teams coach Mike Westhoff intimated that there other teams who engaged in the same practice, including the Patriots.

“[There are] a number of teams [that do it],” Westhoff told ESPN 1000 in Chicago. “If you watch carefully, there is a pretty good team up north that lines up their whole defense when they do it, so it’s something that just kind of happened.”

As a result, according to the NFL, a portion of the fine includes Westhoff’s remarks.

Here’s the complete announcement from the league, according to Chris Mortensen of ESPN.

“The New York Jets were notified today that the club has been fined $100,000 by Commissioner Roger Goodell for violating league rules in the recent incident involving Jets assistant coach Sal Alosi, who placed players in a prohibited area on the sideline to impede an opposing team’€™s special teams players and gain a competitive advantage. This is both a competitive violation as well as a dangerous tactic. The discipline imposed on the club also includes the response to the incident of coach Alosi and special teams coordinator Mike Westhoff, who made public comments accusing other teams of employing similar tactics. Both the NFL Constitution and Bylaws and other league policies require clubs to report actual or suspected violations of competitive rules by other teams only to the league office and not to engage in public criticism of other clubs. The fine has been imposed on the Jets to emphasize that clubs are accountable for the actions of their employees and have the obligation to ensure that all members of their organization comply with league rules.”

Read More: Mike Westhoff, Nolan Carroll, roger goodell, Sal Alosi

Report: Brandon Meriweather’s fine reduced to $40,000

12.30.10 at 5:44 pm ET
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FOXBORO ‘€” Brandon Meriweather‘€™s fine for his two hits on Baltimore’€™s Todd Heap earlier this season has been reduced from $50,000 to $40,000, according to Judy Battista of the New York Times. Meriweather was hit with the penalty in the wake of his actions in the Oct. 17 game between the Patriots and fine, and in the days after the game, he issued an apology for the incident.

‘€œTo start off I want to say once again I’€™m sorry for the hit. I understand the league is trying to protect the health of all our players, but ‘€¦ I don’€™t even know how to put it, but to be honest I just want all of this to go away,’€ Meriweather said.

‘€œI want to focus, with the rest of my team, on the Chargers, really not let this come up again. I’€™m going to try my best to play within the rules, like my coach had always taught us. I’€™m going to hit and play the game like my coaches have always taught us. Even in training camp, we have always been taught the proper way to hit, and I’€™m just going to focus on that and put it in my game in some way, shape, form, or fashion. And from here on, I’€™m focusing on the Chargers and anything else spoken on this, I will not comment on.’€

According to Battista, Dunta Robinson and James Harrison ‘€” each of who had big hits the same weekend at Meriweather ‘€” also had their fines reduced from $50,000 to $25,000 and $75,000 to $50,000, respectively.

(UPDATE, 6:08 p.m.: The NFL has confirmed the reduction in the fines, and have issued the following statement, via Chris Mortensen of ESPN: The fines of Dunta Robinson of the Atlanta Falcons and Brandon Meriwether of the New England Patriots for flagrant hits against defenseless receivers have been reduced on appeal. The appeals officer, Ted Cottrell, reduced Robinson’€™s fine from $50,000 to $25,000 and Meriweather’€™s fine from $50,000 to $40,000. Following these decisions, Cottrell took the additional step of reviewing the appeal of James Harrison of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Harrison was fined $75,000 earlier this season for a similar flagrant hit. Cottrell consulted with Commissioner Goodell about reducing Harrison’€™s fine to $50,000 and the commissioner fully supported the decision. Cottrell said he reduced the fines because the players said they understood the rules and have made efforts to adjust their techniques to play within the rules that protect player safety.)

Read More: Brandon Meriweather, Dunta Robinson, James Harrison, Todd Heap

Three miss practice for Dolphins

12.30.10 at 3:49 pm ET
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The Dolphins had just three players miss practice on Thursday ‘€” linebacker Karlos Dansby, tight end Anthony Fasano and tight end Lydon Murtha. Here’s their complete report:

Did Not Participate
LB Karlos Dansby (toe)
TE Anthony Fasano (knee)
TE Lydon Murtha (head)

Limited Participation
CB Nolan Carroll (head)

Read More: dolphins, injury report,

Six Patriots limited at Thursday practice

12.30.10 at 3:45 pm ET
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FOXBORO ‘€” In addition to the three players who missed practice ‘€” Ron Brace, Dan Connolly and Mike Wright ‘€” the Patriots had six players who were limited, including quarterback Tom Brady. Here’s the complete report:

Did Not Participate
DL Ron Brace (elbow)
G Dan Connolly (concussion)
DL Mike Wright (concussion)

Limited Participation
LB Tully Banta-Cain (groin)
QB Tom Brady (right shoulder/foot)
WR Deion Branch (knee)
LB Jermaine Cunningham (calf)
TE Aaron Hernandez (hip)
NT Myron Pryor (back)

Full Participation
CB Kyle Arrington (elbow)
CB Devin McCourty (rib)

Read More: injury report, Patriots,

Report: Jerod Mayo hit with fine for nailing the Bills

12.30.10 at 3:07 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo has been informed by the NFL he will be fined for at least one of the several huge hits he laid on the Bills during Sunday’s 34-3 rout of Buffalo at Ralph Wilson Stadium, according to the Boston Herald.

Mayo told the paper that the league told him he’€™s been fined for at least one hit in game but wasn’€™t sure which one was deemed too violent or unnecessary.

Players typically received the formal notice of a fine and the amount on the following Friday after the game in question and Mayo had not received his as of Thursday morning. The Patriots leading tackler laid out Steve Johnson over the middle when he crashed into the receiver’s facemask with his own. Receiver David Nelson was also the victim of a Mayo hit, with some help on the play by safety Jarrad Page.

Read More: Buffalo Bills, David Nelson, Jarrad Page, Jerod Mayo

Rob Ninkovich certainly has fond memories of the Dolphins

12.30.10 at 2:38 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Things couldn’t have gone much better the last time Rob Ninkovich faced one of his former teams.

The linebacker recorded his first two career interceptions and helped the Patriots defense confuse and other confound Dolphins quarterback Chad Henne in a 41-14 romp at Dolphins Stadium on Oct. 4. He also sacked the quarterback once, defended two passes and hurried the quarterback on another snap.

“It’€™s always fun to play against a team that you’€™ve actually been on and you know the guys on the team,” Ninkovich said of playing his ex-mates. “Hopefully, I can repeat, have a repeat performance.”

Bill Belichick is fond of keeping his players focused on the job – and game – at hand. Ninkovich says this week’s regular-season finale is no different, even if that October breakout game did bolster his confidence.

“Well, it’€™s over with, so you can’€™t look back on what you’€™ve done,” he said. “It was one of those games where I knew I could do it [and] I knew I had that in me, so it was a confidence booster.”

But what Ninkovich, Patrick Chung, Brandon Tate and Kyle Arrington really showed that day was that these Patriots are capable of winning games in practically any manner possible.

“I think that’€™s one of the best things about the Patriots is it’€™s a performance-based evaluation of how good you are and if you can help the team out and do anything for the team, you’€™re going to have a chance to help the team,” Ninkovich said.

Ninkovich played at Joliet Junior College before playing at Purdue – where he caught a TD pass from Kyle Orton. Ninkovich was a star defensive end when he was drafted by the Saints in fifth round of the 2006 NFL Draft. After a successful 2006 rookie season, his first stint with the Saints ended before the 2007 season when he was carted off with a knee injury that forced him to miss the preseason. But he was picked up by the Dolphins and played for the team that won just one game. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Brandon Tate, Joliet Junior College, Kyle Arrington, kyle orton

The Big Nickel: Wes Welker talks about Ed Block and Aaron Hernandez says he doesn’t have a Twitter account

12.30.10 at 1:45 pm ET
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FOXBORO ‘€” Here are the five most important things to know about the Patriots on Thursday:

1. Wide receiver Wes Welker was almost sheepish on Thursday morning when he was asked about what it meant to win the Ed Block Courage Award, an honor given to one player on each team who best exemplifies the principles of courage and sportsmanship while also serving as a source of inspiration. It’€™s an award voted on by the entire team.

‘€œI think it was kind of by default in a way just because of the circumstances ‘€” I was the only one who was really hurt this offseason,’€ Welker said on Thursday morning. ‘€œBut it’€™s definitely an honor to be in the same breath as him.’€

Welker tore the ACL and MCL in his left knee in the 2009 regular-season finale in Houston, but had reconstructive surgery and returned from his injury ahead of expectations. He was back in the starting lineup at the start of the 2010 season, and he heads into Sunday’€™s regular-season finale with 86 receptions for 848 yards and seven touchdowns.

‘€œBeing able to come back from the offseason that I had and last season, the way it ended, it’€™s definitely an honor,’€ he added. ‘€œI’€™m definitely happy to have my name on the Ed Block Courage Award.’€

Welker was asked if there was any added satisfaction in being able to be back on the field on a regular basis so soon after suffering such a devastating injury.

‘€œI’€™d say I take a little bit of satisfaction out of it,’€ Welker said. ‘€œBut at the same time, I just want to get back out there with my teammates and get back out there and play ball, and go out there and do what I love to do. Being able to do that and get back as early as possible was a key thing for me. Just trying to keep it going the rest of the season.’€

2. Welker also touched on a variety of other topics in a Q&A with reporters than ran nearly seven minutes. (For how he feels about the possibility of playing this weekend, check out Mike Petraglia’€™s story here.)

What’€™s the most important thing for a young player to realize heading into the postseason? ‘€œI think the season really starts now and understanding that it’€™s been a long season and everything like that, but you have to stay on top of it and make sure you’€™re pushing through and understand what’€™s at stake and don’€™t let up and don’€™t get comfortable and every play and every game is so crucial and important, and you have to stay on top of that.’€

On Tom Brady almost serving as an offensive coordinator on the field: ‘€œHe definitely has a lot of input. At the end of the day, whatever Tom likes, that’€™s what we’€™re going to be doing. Whatever he’€™s comfortable with ‘€” I know our coaches do a great job of game-planning, and getting ready. From there, it’€™s really up to the players to go out there and run the plays and make sure you understand what coverages you’€™re going to see and getting ready for them. … He’€™s definitely the guy puling the trigger, so whatever he decides out there and whoever gets open, that’€™s who he’€™s going to get the ball to, and making sure we’€™re all in the right spots for him and let him make the reads from there.’€

How much does this team take on Bill Belichick‘€™s personality? ‘€œI think as much as it can. He does a great job of staying on top of us and making sure that we’€™re not getting head of ourselves or anything like that and making sure we’€™re focused on Miami this week and what a great team they are and to continue to go out there and play hard and get ready each and every game and each and every play and be ready for the Dolphins this week.’€

3. True to Belichick’€™s promise, the Patriots practiced outside on Thursday afternoon, working on the lower fields behind Gillette in sweats and shells. There were only three players missing from the start of the session ‘€” offensive lineman Dan Connolly and defensive linemen Ron Brace and Mike Wright.
Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Aaron Hernandez, Bianca Wilfork, Bill Belichick, Dan Connolly
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