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Friday, October 17, 2008
Dolphins' Porter, Broncos' Bly each fined $20K for comments on refs

ESPN.com news services

MIAMI -- Miami Dolphins linebacker Joey Porter was fined $20,000 Friday by the NFL for comments critical of beleaguered referee Ed Hochuli and his crew in Sunday's loss at Houston.

Denver Broncos cornerback Dre Bly also was fined $20,000 by the NFL for negative comments about the officiating in Denver's 24-17 loss to Jacksonville on Sunday.

On the first play of the Texans' drive for the winning touchdown late in the game, Porter stripped quarterback Matt Schaub. Hochuli ruled the play an incomplete pass rather than a fumble, saying Schaub's arm was moving forward when hit.

"I know for sure that I had both his arms when the ball came out," Porter said after the game. "I'm looking for an apology or something on Tuesday or Wednesday on NFL Network, but it will be too late by then. The game's over. …

"I thought we won the game, actually, but they kept getting calls."

Hochuli has been at the center of several disputed decisions this season, including a call he acknowledged he blew that helped Denver rally past San Diego.

Bly was agitated over an illegal contact call he drew in the third quarter of the game against the Jaguars, plus a pass interference call on Broncos safety Marlon McCree in the waning moments of the game.

The Broncos have caught their share of breaks from the officials this season, most notably on Hochuli's blown call. Bly hinted in comments afterward that officials were making calls to even things out.

"The first couple of games, I guess they've been evaluating us and saying we won games we shouldn't have won," Bly said after the game. "So I guess they're going to get a call against us."

According to The Denver Post, he was planning on appealing the fine.

Bly wasn't available for comment Friday, but he stood by his comments the day before, saying he didn't think his criticism was excessive or out of line.

"I wasn't cussing them or [saying] he was a bad guy," Bly said. "I just said it was judgment calls. But I thought they were bad calls to make at [a] critical part of the game."

Bly was flagged for illegal contact, even though he was tossed to the ground by Jaguars receiver Reggie Williams. The play turned a potential fourth-and-13 into an automatic first down. The Jaguars went on to score, giving them a 24-10 lead.

McCree was whistled for pass interference on tight end Greg Estandia; the call gave Jacksonville a first down at the Denver 32 late in the game. Replays appeared to show no interference on the play.

"They have to go on their instincts and their instincts told them to throw a flag," Bly said. "We can't dwell on that, that's in the past. We've got to move forward."

Information from ESPN.com's Bill Williamson and The Associated Press was used in this report.