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Eagles CB Samuel hit with $40K fine for unnecessary roughness

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The NFL fined Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Asante Samuel $40,000 for unnecessarily striking a defenseless receiver, a league source said Wednesday.

Samuel hit New York Giants receiver Derek Hagan in the head and neck area during Sunday's game, drawing a 15-yard penalty for unnecessary roughness. It was Samuel's second infraction for unnecessary roughness this season.

Samuel confirmed the fine before practice Wednesday and said a change of tactics is in order.

"If you're not looking, I'm going low," he said.

Samuel isn't known as a physical player, often criticized for shying away from tackles. He is, however, one of the top playmakers. Samuel leads the league with seven interceptions and has 42 in his career.

"They don't pay me to tackle," Samuel jokingly said. "Now they're charging me to tackle."

The league has cracked down on hits to the helmet in the last month, with Samuel's fines among the NFL's biggest. Samuel lowered his shoulder on the hit and appeared to try to lead that way, his helmet making contact with Hagan's face mask.

"I think they want us to go low on the defenseless receiver and break some legs, that's probably what they want," Samuel said. "It seems like that's what they prefer. I would hate to have to hit a guy low and he's not looking. You know what I'm saying?"

Samuel said the league called him a repeat offender in a letter outlining the fine, but he disputed that.

"I never got fined for a hit before, so I don't know what they're talking about," he said.

Eagles coach Andy Reid also believed that Samuel shouldn't have been fined.

"He's making plays on the ball, and at the same time, he's playing physical, and it's unfortunate that whole thing happened on Sunday where he was flagged because I really think that was a pretty good hit right there," Reid said.

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Samuel, who sprained his knee Sunday, was one of two Eagles defensive starters to miss practice Wednesday, the team said. Defensive end Juqua Parker (hip flexor) was the other.

Reid said he isn't sure exactly when Samuel sustained the injury, but the coach said the cornerback believes it might have been on a fumble recovery. Samuel also had two interceptions. Joselio Hanson will take Samuel's reps in practice. Reid said Samuel "wants to play in the game."

Parker was hindered by the hip injury before last Sunday's game. Brandon Graham assumed most of the snaps at left defensive end Sunday and forced the fumble that Samuel recovered.

Notes: The Eagles signed CB Brandon Hughes from the Giants' practice squad to replace Ellis Hobbs, who was placed on injured reserve Tuesday. Hobbs left the field on a stretcher with a neck injury in the team's 27-17 victory over the Giants on Sunday. Hobbs has a herniated disc in his neck, but it hasn't been determined whether or not he will undergo surgery. Reid said Hughes can play both the inside and outside cornerback spots, but he wasn't signed to be a returner. Jorrick Calvin will resume kickoff-return duties with Hobbs' injury.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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