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Jets appealing NFL’s $100K fine from trip incident
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) - The New York Jets aren't writing the NFL a $100,000 check just yet.
The team is appealing the hefty fine issued by the league last week for violating rules when assistant coach Sal Alosi ordered players to form a sideline wall, then tripped Miami's Nolan Carroll during a punt return last month.
Meeting with the media for the first time since the fine, special teams coordinator Mike Westhoff said Wednesday he didn't want to comment, but revealed the Jets were appealing it by calling it "an unresolved issue."
"You know where I've stood on the thing the whole time," Westhoff said. "I was not involved in it. ... It's just something that, the whole thing is just very frustrating for me to be involved in."
After Westhoff's comments, team spokesman Bruce Speight confirmed the Jets are appealing the fine, calling it "a typical course of action whenever you receive a fine." He added that conversations between the team and the league would remain confidential.
The NFL's fine was in response to the actions of Alosi, the Jets' strength and conditioning coach, and comments made by Westhoff, who said other teams employ similar sideline wall tactics.
"Trust me, I'm not in the middle of it," Westhoff said. "I don't want anything to do with it. I've had enough to do with it already. It's ridiculous. The thing makes me sick."
When the fine was announced last Thursday, the Jets released a statement saying the organization would "comply with the league's decision."
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 on Dec. 12. Tight end Jeff Cumberland, one of the inactive players, said Alosi had told them to do that all season.
The league said 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 also called it "a competitive violation, as well as a dangerous tactic."
Alosi was first suspended without pay for the remainder of the season and fined $25,000 by the Jets for tripping Carroll, before being suspended indefinitely by the team after acknowledging he ordered the players to form the wall.
Both Westhoff and coach Rex Ryan have denied any knowledge of the wall tactic set up by Alosi.
The NFL met with the team to investigate the incident and spoke with Westhoff about his comments, when he said other teams employ sideline walls, including the New England 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.
A few days after the incident, the NFL sent a letter to all 32 teams reminding them of the rules and restrictions for the bench area and sidelines.
By Bob Dole
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