- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 6, 2010

BEREA, OHIO (AP) - T.J. Ward’s “cheap shot” was costly.

For delivering a nasty blow to an opponent’s head, the NFL belted the Browns' rookie safety in the wallet.

Ward, who in just four games as a pro has developed a reputation as a ferocious tackler and fearless talker, was fined $15,000 Wednesday for his helmet-to-helmet hit on Cincinnati wide receiver Jordan Shipley during the fourth quarter of the Browns' win on Sunday.

Ward confirmed he was fined, but he would not divulge the amount. However, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press that the league assessed Ward the $15,000 penalty for ramming Shipley, who was knocked out briefly and sustained a concussion.

The league will not announce its discipline on Ward until Friday.

A split-second after Shipley failed to catch a pass from Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer in the end zone, Ward unloaded on the rookie wideout, sending him sprawling to the turf. Ward claims he led with his right shoulder, but TV replays clearly show him making contact with Shipley’s helmet.

“I just tried to make a play and unfortunately he got hurt,” Ward said before practice. “It’s part of the violent game we play. If you play that position, it kind of comes with the territory.”

The Bengals weren’t pleased and following the game, both Palmer and wide receiver Terrell Owens accused Ward of a dirty play.

“I just hate to see a guy get hit like that in the head,” Owens said. “For him to take a cheap shot like that, that’s uncalled for.”

Browns coach Eric Mangini defended Ward, saying it was an aggressive play _ nothing more.

Owens countered with a personal shot at Mangini.

“Look who it’s coming from,” Owens told Bengals teammate Chad Ochocinco in an interview on VERSUS in advance of the premiere of the “The T.Ocho Show.” “Probably 90 percent of his players don’t like him (Mangini) anyway. “I don’t like him. We got to see him again anyway, so we’ll see who’s going to do some cheap shots next game.

“Hit me like that.”

The Browns visit the Bengals on Dec. 19.

Ward insists he didn’t intentionally try to injure Shipley. As he came across the end zone, Ward said he saw the ball and Shipley and acted instinctively.

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