NFL notebook

Eagles’ Samuel fined $40K for hit

CB says he may change tactics

Asante Samuel celebrates an INT Sunday, but he wasn’t happy with a $40,000 fine yesterday for a hit in that game. Asante Samuel celebrates an INT Sunday, but he wasn’t happy with a $40,000 fine yesterday for a hit in that game. (Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Associated Press / November 25, 2010

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Asante Samuel plans to go low.

Samuel, the Philadelphia Eagles’ three-time Pro Bowl cornerback, is not happy with his $40,000 fine yesterday for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Giants wide receiver Derek Hagan that drew an unnecessary roughness penalty.

Now, a change of tactics is in order.

“If you’re not looking, I’m going low,’’ he said.

Samuel is not known as a physical player, often criticized for shying away from tackles. He is, however, one of the top playmakers. Samuel leads the league with seven interceptions and has 42 for his career.

“They don’t pay me to tackle,’’ he joked. “Now they’re charging me to tackle.’’

The league has cracked down on hits to the helmet in the last month, with Samuel’s fine among the NFL’s biggest. Samuel lowered his shoulder on the hit and appeared to try to lead that way, his helmet making contact with Hagan’s face mask.

“I think they want us to go low on the defenseless receiver and break some legs, that’s probably what they want,’’ he said. “It seems like that’s what they prefer. I would hate to have to hit a guy low and he’s not looking. You know what I’m saying?’’

In another discipline matter, Bills receiver Stevie Johnson said the NFL fined him $5,000 for his playful touchdown celebration following the first of his three scores during a win over the Bengals last weekend.

Young texts Fisher Jeff Fisher said quarterback Vince Young apologized to him via text message, though that might not have been the best move since the Titans coach said talking face-to-face is a “man thing.’’

Fisher said after practice that reporters could draw their own conclusion on whether he would have preferred an apology from Young in person. The coach wouldn’t discuss what the text said except that Young apologized via a text sent Tuesday.

But the coach also didn’t text his quarterback in response.

“I’m not a real big text guy,’’ Fisher said. “I’m not really into this new age stuff. I don’t twit or tweet. But I think face-to-face is a man thing, OK?’’

The QB had a heated exchange with Fisher in the locker room after Sunday’s overtime loss to Washington, and Fisher told Young not to attend a team meeting Monday. Tennessee placed Young on injured reserve Tuesday because he needs season-ending surgery on his right thumb.

Fisher’s bigger concern was the condition of Titans offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger, who was diagnosed with cancer and is expected to start chemotherapy treatment almost immediately.

Jets’ Cotchery out Jets wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery tonight will miss his second straight game as he recovers from a groin injury. Cotchery did not practice yesterday, and is listed as out for the game against the Bengals. He suffered a slight tear to his left groin at Cleveland Nov. 14. Jets backup defensive back Dwight Lowery also did not practice and is out with a concussion and right tackle Damien Woody has a sprained medial collateral ligament in his right knee and is questionable . . . Saints coach Sean Payton said he’s optimistic running back Reggie Bush finally will be able to come back from his broken right leg today in Dallas. Bush, who’s missed eight games since fracturing his right fibula, is listed as questionable after practicing on a limited basis during the week.

Delhomme to start With Browns rookie quarterback Colt McCoy out with a left ankle sprain, Jake Delhomme, who has been inactive for eight games because of a similar injury, will start Sunday against his former team, the Panthers. Delhomme spent seven seasons in Carolina, leading the Panthers to their only Super Bowl appearance . . . Brandon Jacobs is once again the Giants’ No. 1 running back. Frustrated with Ahmad Bradshaw’s inability to hold the ball, coach Tom Coughlin demoted Bradshaw and gave Jacobs the starting job for Sunday’s game against the Jaguars . . . The Giants were awarded receiver Devin Thomas on waivers from the Panthers. They signed former Buccaneer wideout Michael Clayton Tuesday, a day after leading receiver Hakeem Nicks had an emergency procedure to relieve pressure in his right leg. The team placed fullback Madison Hedgecock (hamstring) on IR.

Surgery for Crayton The Chargers said wide receiver Patrick Crayton had surgery on his left wrist. The team didn’t give a timetable for when or if Crayton will return this season. He was hurt while falling into the end zone at the end of a 40-yard catch-and-run Monday night in the Chargers’ 35-14 win over the Broncos . . . Dolphins receiver Brandon Marshall didn’t practice because of a hamstring injury, raising questions as to whether he’ll play Sunday at Oakland . . . The Raiders placed defensive end Trevor Scott on IR because of a knee injury, leaving them without one of their most productive and versatile players . . . Clinton Portis’s season has come to an early end for the second year in a row. Coach Mike Shanahan said the Redskins running back will be placed on IR. Portis missed five games with a torn left groin, then he tore a muscle in his lower abdomen just above the area of the groin injury when he returned for Sunday’s game against Tennessee . . . The Eagles placed cornerback Ellis Hobbs on IR, ending his season. Hobbs sustained a neck injury in a helmet-to-helmet collision with defensive lineman Dave Tollefson on the second-half kickoff in Sunday’s 27-17 win over the Giants.

Fitzpatrick lauded Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick is playing so well he’s earned the chance to remain the 2-8 team’s starter beyond this season. Coach Chan Gailey said it would be “dumb’’ not to consider the ex-Harvard signal-caller for the starting job next year. Fitzpatrick is 2-6 and has 18 touchdowns and nine interceptions . . . Bills cornerback Terrence McGee left practice because of a knee injury and it is not certain if he’ll play against Pittsburgh this weekend.

McNair disappointed Texans owner Bob McNair said he is disappointed in his “underperforming’’ team, which is 4-6, and expects a victory against Tennessee this weekend . . . A person familiar with the negotiating session said the NFL and the players union made “some progress’’ during a meeting Monday.

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