Pats' Bill Belichick fined $50K

Updated: September 26, 2012, 9:45 PM ET
By Field Yates | Special to ESPNBoston.com

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick has been fined $50,000 for "impermissible physical contact with an official" at the conclusion of Sunday's game against the Baltimore Ravens.

The NFL announced the fine Wednesday. Belichick was not aware of the fine when he addressed the media Wednesday morning, saying he would "respect" whatever the league decided.

He addressed the punishment in a statement released Wednesday afternoon.

"It was inappropriate for me to contact the official," he said in the statement. "I take responsibility for what happened. I accept the discipline and I apologize for the incident Sunday night in Baltimore."

Belichick grabbed the arm of line judge Esteban Garza as he was exiting the field after Baltimore kicked a winning field goal as time expired. On Monday, Belichick explained that he wanted an explanation as to whether the kick, which appeared to sail above and just inside the right upright, was being reviewed.

"I've coached in this league a long time," Belichick said Monday. "I've never been penalized, never had any incidents with officials or anything like that. I have never meant any disrespect or in any way tried to abuse or be disrespectful to the officials and the job that they do.

"I was trying to get an explanation for obviously an important call/play in that game. That's the No. 1 thing between coaches and officials, it's always at the forefront, just communication of what's going on and what's happening."

The league also announced Wednesday that Ravens coach John Harbaugh, whose actions toward the refs Sunday were also under review, was not fined.

Harbaugh was flagged late in the fourth quarter for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Following the game, Harbaugh admitted he bumped an official, but said it was inadvertent while he was trying to make a timeout call.

Before last week's games, the NFL warned teams about proper conduct between coaches and replacement officials.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Field Yates has previous experience interning with the New England Patriots on both their coaching and scouting staffs. A graduate of Wesleyan University (CT), he is a regular contributor to ESPN Boston's Patriots coverage and ESPN Insider.

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