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Eagles' Sims fined $50K for hitting defenseless receiver

The NFL has fined Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Ernie Sims $50,000 for unnecessarily striking defenseless Titans receiver Lavelle Hawkins in the neck and head area with his forearms during the Eagles' 37-19 loss to the Tennessee Titans in Week 7.

It's the first large fine handed out by the NFL since it sent a video to the 32 teams emphasizing what hits would bring big fines and possible suspensions.

Sims, 25, is a repeat offender. He was previously fined twice for unnecessary roughness violations (Dec. 28, 2008 and Sept. 13, 2009) while he was a member of the Detroit Lions.

The fine was issued by NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Ray Anderson, who informed Sims that "further offenses will result in an escalation of fines up to and including suspension."

Hawkins' only catch in the game was for 5 yards in the third quarter.

Since Anderson announced a crackdown on flagrant fouls -- the kind that drew a $75,000 fine for Steelers linebacker James Harrison and $50,000 each for New England's Brandon Meriweather and Atlanta's Dunta Robinson last month -- only Sims has been nailed a big amount.

Few penalties have been called for hits to defenseless players in the head or neck area since the crackdown.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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