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Teams face fines for certain on-field infractions by players

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Starting this year, players who are fined for certain types of on-field infractions ultimately will put their teams in line to pay fines, too.

Per a league source with knowledge of the situation, Commissioner Roger Goodell advised all teams in a memo dated August 11, 2011, of an expansion of the “Club Remittance Policy” to include 11 different on-field infractions.

The 11 specific infractions are: (1) striking/kicking/kneeing; (2) horse collar tackle; (3) facemask violations; (4) leg whip; (5) late hit; (6) spearing; (7) impermissible use of helmet; (8) hit on a defenseless player; (9) blindside block; (10) roughing the passer; and (11) chop block.

Once players on a given team have accumulated $100,000 in fines for the various specified infractions in any season (from the first game of the preseason through the Super Bowl), the team must pay a fine of $50,000. For the next $50,000 in player fines, the team must pay another $25,000. After the cumulative fines reach $150,000 in a given season, the team’s fine matches the player’s fine at a dollar-for-dollar rate.

For suspensions, the player’s forfeited salary will be counted toward the team’s total fine amount, up to $50,000.

Trading or cutting a player doesn’t wipe off his fine amounts, and the team cannot seek reimbursement from any player for the fines that the team must pay.

The league previously established a policy for fining teams based on multiple suspensions arising under the personal conduct policy, the substance abuse policy, an the steroids policy. The goal of the expanded approach is to encourage teams to encouraging the teaching of proper techniques.

It may not matter. Just as players aren’t fazed by fines, teams may not care about losing some money in the name of playing the game aggressively. Thus, just as suspensions may be needed to get a player’s attention, a team will get the message only when it faces a loss of draft picks.