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Johnathan Abram fined for play that ended his season

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The NFL has informed Johnathan Abram that he is being fined $28,075 for lowering the head to initiate contact in Monday's win over the Broncos -- and the Raiders' promising rookie safety is prepared to mount a unique (and painful) defense.

A source familiar with the plan said Abram will appeal the fine, arguing he initiated contact with his shoulder. The evidence? Abram suffered a rotator cuff injury on the play in question when he knocked Broncos receiver DaeSean Hamilton out of bounds to prevent a completion late in the first half.

Abram -- who finished the game despite the injury -- received the fine letter Friday morning as he prepared to undergo season-ending surgery on the shoulder, the source said. That surgery revealed Abram did not also tear his labrum, as originally feared, but the five- to six-month recovery timetable remains the same.

Officials did not penalize Abram on the play. They did flag Abram for lowering the head to initiate contact on a separate play in the third quarter, but Abram hadn't received a notice for any additional discipline stemming from that play as of Friday afternoon.

Abram's appeal would be heard by one of two jointly appointed appeals officers, former players Derrick Brooks and James Thrash.

The $28,705 fine is standard for a first offense of impermissible use of the helmet. Even if the NFL doesn't throw out the fine, Abram likely can get it reduced. The collective-bargaining agreement allows players to argue a fine is excessive if it exceeds 25 percent of a player's weekly salary for a first offense; Abram's weekly base salary is the rookie minimum of $29,117.64.

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