NEW YORK -- Dunta Robinson will pay for his flagrant hit on Jeremy Maclin. He won't be suspended, though.
The NFL fined the Atlanta cornerback $40,000 on Monday for the hit in which he led with his helmet and crashed into the Philadelphia receiver during the third quarter of the Falcons' 35-31 victory over the Eagles on Sunday night. Robinson was penalized 15 yards for unnecessary roughness.
The league didn't suspend Robinson, although it has said hits like the one he put on Maclin could lead to such action. Robinson is a repeat offender, having being fined $25,000 last year for a similar hit on Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson that left both players with concussions.
In a letter sent to Robinson, NFL vice president of football operations Merton Hanks noted that "future offenses will result in an escalation of fines up to and including suspension."
On NFL Network
"NFL Replay" will re-air the Atlanta Falcons 35-31 win over the Philadelphia Eagles on Tuesday, Sept. 20 at
8 p.m. ET.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was advised of the decision and said "we felt this was the appropriate discipline."
Asked if this was an example of the hits the NFL is trying to get out of the game, Goodell said: "There's no such thing as a perfect example. There are individual elements of each hit. We're trying to identify the techniques that will make our game safer."
The league said Robinson violated Rule 12, Section 2, Article 9 (a) (2) of the playing rules, which states: "It is a foul if a player initiates unnecessary contact against a player who is in a defenseless posture."
The rule notes that players in a defenseless posture include "a receiver attempting to catch a pass; or who has completed a catch and has not had time to protect himself or has not clearly become a runner."
On the play with 6:12 left in the third quarter, the league said Robinson lowered his head and made forcible contact to the head and neck area of Maclin, who still made the catch. He was slow to leave the field but returned to the game.
Robinson can appeal to former NFL coaches Art Shell and Ted Cottrell, who are paid by the league and the NFL Players Association to handle those cases. Their appeal must be heard by the second Tuesday following notification of the discipline.
Replays clearly showed Robinson leading with his helmet, something the league has been adamant about eliminating. The NFL this year also banned players from launching themselves into a defenseless opponent.
Falcons coach Mike Smith said after the game that he believed it was a legal hit and "that's the way we teach it."
"My opinion didn't change," he said Monday before the NFL made its ruling.
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press