Ex-UM star Peppers fined $24K by NFL for illegal hit

Tom Withers
Associated Press

Berea, Ohio — Browns rookie safety Jabrill Peppers was fined $24,000 by the NFL for his illegal hit Sunday on Bengals receiver Josh Malone.

Peppers said he was informed of the fine in an email from the league on Wednesday night. The first-round pick out of Michigan said he stopped reading the letter when he saw the dollar amount.

Peppers delivered a hard blow to Malone’s chest area in the fourth quarter, but the official ruled he made contact with the receiver’s helmet and assessed him a personal foul. Cincinnati scored a touchdown moments later to wrap up its 30-16 win.

Peppers feels he led with his shoulder and his hit was within the rules. He’s still unclear as why Malone was considered a “defenseless” receiver as he appeared to be running with the ball.

“I’m a little upset,” he said. “I didn’t see the replay then, but when I watched it, I thought it was evident that I tried to go to the body. I don’t know where else I could’ve hit him that would have dislodged the ball.

“I just feel like as defenders we’re at a disadvantage ‘cause any kind of violent hit they flag. Football is a collision sport. There’s going to be a lot of collisions. It’s not a contact sport. It’s a collision sport.”

Peppers plans to appeal the fine.