- Jane McManus, Reporter & Columnist, espnW.com
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FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- New York Jets defensive players Muhammad Wilkerson and Quinton Coples said they both plan to appeal NFL fines for hits on Tennessee Titans quarterback Jake Locker, who was sent to a local hospital with a hip injury after the play.
Despite the injury, Locker said he didn't think either hit was malicious, but the league fined Wilkerson $15,785 for an initial hit citing roughing the passer, and Coples was fined $7,875 for an inappropriate hit.
"One thing about it, it's up for debate, so I'm going to appeal it," Coples said. "There was no flag. There was nothing said coming out of the game that it was an intentional hit. At the end of the day, it was something I was surprised about."
During the play, Wilkerson hit Locker in his chest just after he had completed his throwing motion. Locker then was propelled sideways, where Coples made contact.
"I was going to appeal regardless, it didn't matter the amount," Wilkerson said. "If it was $5,000 I was going to appeal it. I didn't think it was a dirty hit."
A few teammates expressed some dissatisfaction with the number of league fines this season, including offensive lineman Willie Colon, who was fined roughly $34,125 for his part in a scrum at the end of the loss to the New England Patriots in Week 2.
Colon said he thought Wilkerson and Coples played cleanly.
"Obviously with me fined, it's a sensitive subject for me but it's starting to become, is everything a fine now?" Colon said. "Is every hit or everything done, do you have to wait for a letter in the mail? I think it's starting to go overboard. I don't even have a penalty hearing yet because they're so backed up with fines."
Colon said the fine money was taken out of his paycheck before the appeals process, but NFL spokesperson Greg Aiello said that is not the case.
Rookie defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson said he thought quarterbacks were being treated differently than other positions. Richardson noted that a lot of "dirt" goes on between the offensive and defensive lines, but that if unintentional contact happens involving a quarterback are fined more often on regular football plays.
"It happens," Richardson said. "If you're getting fined for what happened in football then the league is changing for real now."
After sustaining the injury, Locker told reporters he didn't think it was a dirty play.
"I didn't feel like that on the field, and after watching it, you know, it wasn't anything malicious, I didn't feel like," said Locker. "I kind of got bounced into the second guy. I didn't feel like they were out to get me, no."
Colon agreed that there was no malicious intent from his teammates.
"I saw the play. Mo led with his hands and Q was literally trying to get out of the way, he turned his body to the side," Colon said. "So it's like what now? How do you defend that?"
Asked if the fines would affect the way he plays the game, Wilkerson said he would continue to play the game the way he always has.
"I just play hard physical football like I'm supposed to," Wilkerson said, "like I was brought up and taught and I'm going to continue to do that."
New York Jets defensive players Muhammad Wilkerson and Quinton Coples said they both plan to appeal NFL fines for hits on Tennessee Titans quarterback Jake Locker, who was sent to a local hospital with a hip injury after the play.