Thursday, September 27, 2007
Pats tackle fined $12,500 for low hit on Bills QB Losman
By Len Pasquarelli
New England Patriots nose tackle Vince Wilfork has been fined $12,500 by the league for his low hit on Buffalo starting quarterback J.P. Losman on the first play of last Sunday's victory over the Bills.
The league informed Wilfork of the fine on Thursday afternoon. It is not yet known if the fourth-year veteran will appeal the fine.
Before being apprised of the sanction, Wilfork told local reporters that he has attempted to contact Losman, who suffered a sprained knee on the play and is expected to miss the next two weeks, to explain to him that the hit was not intentional.
Those attempts, Wilfork said, have been unsuccessful.
"I've tried to talk to [Losman], as a person, to let him know how I feel about the whole situation," Wilfork told The Boston Globe. "We have people blowing this thing out of proportion, saying how dirty I am. All these years I've been playing football, never once have I been labeled a dirty player. All of a sudden, I'm a dirty player. ... When I leave this earth, I'm going to leave with one thing, and that's my name. Don't bash my name because of one incident. As long as he understands that wasn't intentional and that organization [understands], I'm fine."
Videotape seems to indicate that Wilfork was blocked into Losman on the play, a first-and-10 from the Buffalo 21-yard line, as the quarterback threw to tailback Marshawn Lynch for a 4-yard gain. But as he fell into the quarterback, Wilfork appeared to extend his right elbow, making contact with Losman.
Wilfork was penalized 15 yards for roughing the passer.
The Bills quarterback attempted to continue playing but left after two more snaps. He was replaced by rookie Trent Edwards, a third-round draft pick from Stanford who completed 10-of-20 passes and will make his first start when the Bills host the New York Jets on Sunday.
There was immediate speculation that Wilfork would draw a fine.
The former University of Miami star, a first-round pick in the 2004 draft and regarded as one of the best young interior defenders in the league, insisted that Buffalo center Melvin Fowler nudged him into Losman and that the contact with the quarterback was incidental.
"I have a million and one things going on in my mind," Wilfork said. "You're tripping, a 300-and-something-pound [lineman] tripping, I have no idea what's going on. I don't know where my arm is at. Like I said, it wasn't intentional."
Wilfork, 25, has a base salary of $600,000 for the 2007 season.
Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com.