NFL notebook

Jets fined $100k for trip

A sore throwing shoulder won’t prevent Mark Sanchez from playing on Sunday. A sore throwing shoulder won’t prevent Mark Sanchez from playing on Sunday. (Darron Cummings/Associated Press)
Associated Press / December 31, 2010

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The NFL fined the Jets $100,000 yesterday for violating league rules when assistant coach Sal Alosi tripped the Dolphins’ Nolan Carroll along the sideline during a punt return earlier this month.

The Jets were punished because Alosi “placed players in a prohibited area on the sideline to impede an opposing team’s special teams players and gain a competitive advantage.’’ The NFL called it “a competitive violation as well as a dangerous tactic.’’

The discipline was in response to the actions of Alosi, the Jets’ strength and conditioning coach, and comments made by special teams coach Mike Westhoff, who accused other teams of employing similar tactics.

“We will comply with the league’s decision,’’ the Jets said in a statement.

Five inactive players were ordered by Alosi to stand together nearly shoulder-to-shoulder on the sideline in New York’s 10-6 loss to Miami Dec. 12. Tight end Jeff Cumberland, one of the inactive players, said Alosi had told them to do that all season.

Westhoff and coach Rex Ryan denied knowledge of the tactic.

The NFL recently met with the team to investigate the incident and spoke with Westhoff about his comments, when he said other teams employ the wall tactic, including the Patriots.

In its statement, the NFL said the fine was imposed to “emphasize that clubs are accountable for the actions of their employees and have the obligation to ensure that all members of their organization comply with league rules.’’ It also stated that the league policies require teams to report “actual or suspected violations of competitive rules’’ by other teams to the NFL office only, and not to publicly criticize them.

Sanchez will start Ryan announced that Mark Sanchez will start the team’s regular-season finale Sunday against the Bills despite a sore throwing shoulder, but is uncertain how long his second-year quarterback will stay in the game. It’s possible Sanchez could play a few series or a few quarters before giving way to Mark Brunell and Kellen Clemens.

“We’ll go ahead and start Mark this game,’’ Ryan said. “How long he plays, we’ll determine that as the game goes.’’

The Jets are likely the No. 6 seed in the AFC. But they have a chance to win 11 games for only the fourth time in franchise history, something Ryan insists is not a factor in playing Sanchez.

“He certainly would not be out there if we didn’t think he was healthy, without question,’’ Ryan said. “Eleven wins is great, but quite honestly, we want to win in the playoffs.’’

Favre hasn’t passed Vikings interim coach Leslie Frazier said that Brett Favre still hasn’t passed a postconcussion test, leaving the 41-year-old quarterback roughly three more days to gain medical clearance to play Sunday against the Lions.

Frazier said the team hasn’t yet determined when Favre will be tested again, but added that tomorrow would probably be the latest the tests could be administered and that the decision on Favre’s status wouldn’t go up to game day.

“We’d love to see him play,’’ Frazier said. “There’s no question about that.’’

Colston may sit Saints coach Sean Payton said leading receiver Marques Colston has had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee and may not be able to play in this Sunday’s regular-season finale against the Buccaneers. Colston had a procedure Tuesday that Payton characterized as a “clean up’’ and relatively minor . . . Cowboys quarterback Jon Kitna missed his second straight practice because of a strained muscle in his side that makes it difficult to throw, making it less likely he will play Sunday at Philadelphia. Stephen McGee would make his first career start if Kitna isn’t healthy . . . The Chargers placed Pro Bowl tight end Antonio Gates on injured reserve because of a tear of the plantar fascia in his right foot. San Diego was eliminated from playoff contention last week . . . Browns running back Peyton Hillis missed his second straight practice to rest sore ribs, but coach Eric Mangini believes he will be ready to play Sunday against the Steelers’ No. 1-ranked rushing defense . . . As expected, Jaguars quarterback David Garrard underwent surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right middle finger.

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