|Vince Wilfork learns that ‘protecting’ teammates costs $30,000||12.28.12 at 4:52 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Say this much, Vince Wilfork couldn’t have been very surprised when he got the envelope from the NFL on Friday.
The perennial pro bowl nose tackle was informed that he would be $30,000 lighter for his act of team unity last Sunday in Jacksonville.
Midway through the fourth quarter, Patrick Chung picked off Chad Henne at the goal line and raced 28 yards on the ensuing return. Toward the end of the return, Jaguars offensive lineman Steve Vallos drilled Patriots defensive end Trevor Scott from behind with a forearm.
Wilfork retaliated with a similar hit. Wilfork admitted after the game that he expected some sort of financial discipline from the league for the hit.
“That was protecting my teammate, plain and simple,” Wilfork said. “You’re not going to sit right in front of me and take a cheap shot at my guy with me standing behind you, that won’t fly. Plain and simple. I’ll probably get penalized for it, I did, but at the same time, you’ll never see me letting my teammates just get cheap-shotted like that with me standing right there.
“It is what it is, it’s part of football. Some people might not like it, some people might like it, but I’m going to do everything I can to protect my teammates,” he continued. “And I was protecting my teammate. But it is what it is, and I don’t think twice about it. If it happened again, I’d protect my teammate the best way I could.”
On Friday, the NFL deemed the hit “unnecessary roughness for a forearm to the back of the head” after Wilfork took exception with the way Vallos hit Patriots defensive end Trevor Scott just moments earlier on the return. Vallos was not flagged but Wilfork and the Patriots were assessed a 15-yard penalty.
Ironically, Chung was not fined for his hit to the head of Cecil Shorts III during Jacksconville’s final drive. Four different flags were thrown in Chung’s direction when he dropped his shoulder into Shorts with Devin McCourty already applying the tackle. Chung was assessed a 15-yard penalty for a hit on a defenseless receiver but the NFL confirmed Friday that the hit did not warrant an additional fine.
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