League fines Titans defensive coordinator $20,000 for verbal abuse of official

By Teresa M. Walker, AP
Thursday, December 31, 2009

NFL fines Cecil, Fletcher, 3 Raiders

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The NFL fined Tennessee defensive coordinator Chuck Cecil $20,000 on Thursday for verbal abuse of a game official for his sideline comments in the Titans’ 42-17 loss to San Diego on Christmas night.

The Titans had just been flagged for roughing Philip Rivers when an official heard Cecil say something. The Titans were penalized another 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Coach Jeff Fisher defended his first-year coordinator, saying Cecil was overheard talking to fellow coaches on his headset. Fisher said Thursday that Cecil will explain who he was talking to when he appeals the fine. Fisher again declined to discuss what Cecil said, adding that coaches usually get warnings.

“Hopefully, it’ll be recognized as a misunderstanding,” Fisher said.

It wasn’t the first time this season the NFL has fined someone other than a Tennessee player. Titans owner Bud Adams was fined $250,000 for obscene hand gestures after a 41-17 win over Buffalo on Nov. 15.

ESPN.com first reported the fine.

Three Oakland Raiders were fined a total of $40,000 Thursday for their actions in last week’s penalty-filled game against the Cleveland Browns.

Tight end Tony Stewart got hit with the biggest amount, being docked $25,000 for “making intentional physical contact with a game official.” Stewart said Monday he was arguing with the officials after he claimed he was punched by Cleveland linebacker Alex Hall on a kickoff return. Stewart said the official put his hand on his chest and Stewart pushed it aside, leading to the penalty and ejection.

Defensive end Richard Seymour was fined $10,000 for hitting running back Jerome Harrison after the play was over. Seymour was called for an offsetting personal foul on the play, with Cleveland’s Rex Hadnot also getting flagged for pushing at Seymour. Seymour also got an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the play for arguing with referee Jeff Triplette after the original call.

Seymour complained Monday that the calls were “ticky-tack” and was upset he wasn’t even allowed to talk to the officials about the call.

Also, cornerback Stanford Routt was docked $5,000 for head-butting an opponent after the play. Routt said the infraction came after he was being blocked by a Cleveland player. He was ejected on the play.

“They said I head-butted him. That was it,” Routt said Thursday. “That happened four days ago. That might as well have happened four years ago, in my opinion. Know what I mean? What’s done is done.”

In all, the Raiders were penalized 13 times for 126 yards, with six personal fouls and the two ejections. They were one off their season high for penalties, set two weeks earlier against Washington. The penalty yards were the most since the 2005 opener in New England, when Oakland was called for 16 penalties for 149 yards.

Broncos receiver Brandon Stokley was fined $25,000 for making contact with an official against Philadelphia.

“It’s a good lesson for everybody to learn, especially myself,” Stokley said. “You have to be able to handle yourself better in those situations and I didn’t handle myself very well. I paid the price for it.”

The 11-year veteran was upset over the lack of an interference call on a third-down play in the first quarter against the Eagles. Seeing no flag, he sprinted down the field and started yelling at back judge Todd Prukop, who pointed for him to go to his sideline. As Stokley started to run off the field, he spun and swiped his right arm in frustration, inadvertently nicking Prukop’s hand.

“I look back and not a very smart thing to do,” Stokley said. “I’m an emotional player on the football field and I let it get the best of me at that time. I can’t let that happen again. I’ve got to be smarter about it.”

Redskins linebacker London Fletcher was fined $10,000 for striking a defenseless receiver, Patrick Crayton, in the head area Sunday in a 17-0 loss to Dallas.

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