posted on Sep, 16 2004 @ 10:39 AM
John Lynch saw the next-day-mail envelope in his locker and knew the news wasn't good.
The Denver Broncos safety had the distinction of being the first player to draw a fine from the NFL this season, when the league sent him a letter
Wednesday demanding $7,500 for a hard hit on Kansas City receiver Dante Hall in the opener.
"I'm going to let the appeal process begin today," said Lynch, who has a reputation for being one of the hardest hitters at the hardest-hitting
position in football.
Even before the envelope arrived, Lynch had an inkling he'd be getting reprimanded. First, he drew a penalty for the hit. Then, he saw the play on
pretty much every highlight show he watched - over and over again.
"If you make the highlights these days, you're going to get fined," he said. "That's pretty much what it comes down to. It's kind of hypocritical.
They put it on their 'Greatest Hits,' but they'll fine you for it, too."
Lynch drew the fine for a hard blow just below Hall's facemask as the receiver sprawled out to catch a ball over the middle. The hit came after it was
fairly clear the ball couldn't be caught, although it's hard to know if Lynch could have pulled up to avoid contact in time.
Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil said it didn't look like a cheap shot to him.
"They don't want people taking shots like that," Vermeil said. "But I don't think it was anything intentional. It was just a spontaneous, quick
Hall, who was not hurt on the play, joked that the fine should have been $25,000 "for my pain and suffering."
Lynch said officials told him he was penalized not for a helmet-to-helmet hit - something the league has cracked down on severely over the past few
seasons - but for taking a shot at a defenseless receiver.
"They told me he was defenseless," Lynch said. "Isn't that always the case?"