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Friday, November 18, 2011
Lions, Bears combine for $63K in fines

ESPN.com news services

The NFL has fined six players from the Detroit Lions and Chicago Bears a combined $62,500 for their actions in the Bears' 37-13 victory Sunday at Soldier Field.

A $15,000 fine was levied against Bears cornerback D.J. Moore. Moore was docked for unnecessary roughness stemming from a fourth-quarter altercation after he charged Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford, who had dragged down the cornerback by grabbing the back of his helmet and his face mask during an interception return by Tim Jennings.

Stafford was fined $7,500 for "grabbing an opponent by the helmet opening."

Two other Lions -- defensive tackle Nick Fairley and offensive lineman Rob Sims -- received fines for rough play. Fairley received a $15,000 fine for his third-quarter hit on Bears quarterback Jay Cutler. The NFL deemed "he unnecessarily drove the opposing (quarterback) into the ground."

Sims' $7,500 fine stemmed from a striking an opponent late.

Also, Bears receiver Earl Bennett was fined $10,000 for a uniform violation; he wore dominantly orange shoes. This was his second offense.

And Kyle Vanden Bosch was fined $7,500 for unnecessary roughness; he unnecessarily struck an opponent late, hitting Bears running back Matt Forte while he was on the ground.

Bears coach Lovie Smith said earlier in the week that officials needed to eject Stafford, too, after Moore was thrown out.

The fight started when Jennings intercepted a Stafford pass. Moore legally blocked the quarterback, who was backpedaling during the interception return. Then as Jennings approached midfield, Stafford grabbed the back of Moore's helmet and slung him into the turf.

Moore immediately hopped up and plowed Stafford -- then sitting on the ground -- back into the turf, sparking the skirmish and the corner's ejection.

Bears linebacker Lance Briggs received an unnecessary roughness penalty for a crushing hit on Lions receiver Calvin Johnson in the first quarter, but the NFL didn't fine him. The league also reviewed the play involving Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh pulling off the helmet of Cutler, but decided not to levy discipline.

Seattle safety Kam Chancellor was fined $20,000 for his hit on Baltimore receiver Anquan Boldin.

Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco was fined $7,500 for a horse-collar tackle on Seattle linebacker David Hawthorne, who had intercepted a pass.

Three Panthers were fined $7,500 each from the Tennessee-Carolina game, all for the same thing: striking an opponent in the face or facemask. Fined were Panthers tackles Byron Bell and Jordan Gross and defensive end Charles Johnson. Johnson fouled Titans tackle David Stewart.

Titans safety Michael Griffin was fined the same amount for a late hit in the head area with his helmet.

Browns guard Shawn Lauvao also received a $7,500 fine for unnecessary roughness in a loss to Houston on Nov. 6. Officials review all plays involving potential violations whether penalized or not, and they are referred to Ray Anderson, executive vice president of football operations, and Merton Hanks, vice president of football operations.

Hanks and Anderson make the initial determination for discipline for violations.

The NFL sends out notifications of discipline during the week, and the players have the right to appeal through a process that involves appeals officers Art Shell and Ted Cottrell.

League guidelines say that "discipline in each case will be evaluated by its own facts and circumstances." This includes determination of whether the infraction occurred 'during the normal course of the game' (e.g., was consistent with the competitive tempo, pace, and situation) or 'outside the normal course of the game' (e.g., was flagrant, unnecessary, avoidable, or gratuitous)."

Information from ESPNChicago.com's Michael C. Wright, ESPN.com senior NFL writer John Clayton and The Associated Press was used in this report.