NFL fines three players a total of $175K for flagrant violations

The NFL announced Tuesday that three players -- Pittsburgh's James Harrison ($75,000), New England's Brandon Meriweather ($50,000) and Atlanta's Dunta Robinson ($50,000) -- have been fined a total of $175,000 for flagrant violations of player safety rules.

The fines were issued by NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Ray Anderson, who informed the players Tuesday. In letters to each player, Anderson said, "Future offenses will result in an escalation of fines up to and including suspension."

In the second quarter of Pittsburgh's game against Cleveland, Harrison unnecessarily struck a defenseless receiver in the head and neck area. That action violated Rule 12, Section 2, Article 8 (g) of the NFL Official Playing Rules, which states that it is unnecessary roughness if the initial force of the contact by a defender's helmet, forearm, or shoulder is to the head or neck area of a defenseless receiver who is catching or attempting to catch a pass. Anderson added that the action also violated Rule 12, Section 2, Article 8 (h) of the NFL Official Playing Rules, which states that if a receiver has completed a catch and has not had time to protect himself, a defensive player is prohibited from launching (springing forward and upward) into him in a way that causes the defensive player's helmet, facemask, shoulder, or forearm to forcibly strike the receiver's head or neck area -- even if the initial contact of the defender's helmet, facemask, shoulder, or forearm is lower than the receiver's neck.

Anderson noted that Harrison is a repeat offender, having been fined $5,000 for unnecessary roughness (roughing the passer) in Pittsburgh's Sept. 19 game against Tennessee. These are the first violations for unnecessary roughness this season for Meriweather and Robinson.

In the second quarter of New England's game against Baltimore, Meriweather unnecessarily struck an opponent in the head area with his helmet. Additionally, in the third quarter, Meriweather unnecessarily struck an opponent in the head and neck area. Those actions violated Rule 12, Section 2, Article 8 (f) of the NFL Official Playing Rules, which states that it is unnecessary roughness if a player uses any part of his helmet (including the top/crown and forehead/"hairline" parts) or facemask to butt, spear, or ram an opponent violently or unnecessarily.

In the second quarter of Atlanta's game against Philadelphia, Robinson unnecessarily struck a defenseless receiver. That action violated Rule 12, Section 2, Article 8 (g) of the NFL Official Playing Rules, which states that it is unnecessary roughness if the initial force of the contact by a defender's helmet, forearm, or shoulder is to the head or neck area of a defenseless receiver who is catching or attempting to catch a pass.