Person familiar with situation says Falcons coach Smith fined $15,000 for sideline altercation

By George Henry, AP
Thursday, November 12, 2009

AP source: Falcons coach fined $15,000

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — Two people familiar with the situation say Atlanta Falcons coach Mike Smith has been fined $15,000 by the NFL for a sideline scuffle, while Washington cornerback DeAngelo Hall avoided any punishment.

The people spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the league has not officially commented on the situation. The NFL also fined Redskins safety LaRon Landry $7,500, Washington defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth $5,000 and Falcons director of athletic performance Jeff Fish $2,500. Hall was not fined.

Smith acknowledged that he was fined when he came off the field after a Falcons practice on Thursday, though he didn’t discuss the amount.

“I received a letter from the NFL office this morning,” he said. “I want to reiterate that I’m always going to have my players’ backs and I’m going to take care of them.”

The trouble started after Landry delivered a late hit on quarterback Matt Ryan along the Atlanta sideline in Sunday’s game. Landry and Ryan hopped up quickly and headed back to their huddles, but Hall jumped into the middle of things and was surrounded by opposing players, along with Smith and Fish.

Hall said that Smith “cussed me out” and Fish tried to “get some licks in” during the scrum, though replays showed no apparent punches during the pushing and shoving. Smith has maintained that he was merely trying to break things up, though he was clearly upset about the hit on Ryan and Hall jumping into the fray.

“I stay in Atlanta during the offseason, so if Mike Smith wants to see me, he can definitely find me,” Hall said after the Falcons’ 31-17 victory.

The cornerback joined the Redskins last season after playing in Atlanta from 2004-07. In the week leading up to the game against his former team, the two-time Pro Bowler talked repeatedly of being treated unfairly by the Falcons before they traded him to Oakland. He didn’t make it through one season with the Raiders and wound up in Washington.

Hall declined to speak with reporters as he walked off the practice field Thursday. Later, he responded publicly through Twitter, thanking the fans, his teammates and the Redskins for supporting him.

“I’ve tried to keep my nose clean n play the game the right way,” he wrote. “Last weekends (sic) incident was unfortunate for everyone involved but the past is the past, and I’m excited about getting back to FedEx Sunday!!”

AP Sports Writers Joseph White in Ashburn, Va., and Paul Newberry in Atlanta contributed to this report.

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