SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — San Francisco 49ers linebacker Ahmad Brooks was fined $15,570 by the NFL on Wednesday for his hit on Saints quarterback Drew Brees last Sunday.
Brooks' agent, Greg Williams, said his client would appeal the penalty — the standard fine for such hits to the head and neck area.
Brooks leveled Brees, forcing a lost fumble. But the personal foul penalty kept the ball in the Saints' possession, and they soon kicked two late field goals to win 23-20. The tackle left Brees with blood on his chin.
Brooks vehemently argued against the penalty, saying he didn't use his hands or helmet and called it a "bear hug." Brees labeled the hit a clothesline tackle. 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh also reiterated Monday he thought the hit was clean.
"Our interpretation was, when we grade a player, if he's got a penalty we give him a minus, but we did not assign a minus on that play," Harbaugh said Monday. "The play occurred that occurred. I thought Ahmad hit at the right level, hit at the shoulder level. The quarterback kind of shrunk down and that's the official's call to make. I'm going to see it the way I see it and that's going to be a slanted view. I really don't know much more to say about that."
The linebacker also was fined $12,750 for a roughing-the-passer call against Aaron Rodgers during the season opener against Green Bay.
Brooks declined to speak to reporters Wednesday, when a downpour in the Bay Area caused Harbaugh to cancel an outdoor walk-through and move preparations for Monday night's game at Washington indoors.
Cornerback Carlos Rogers defended his teammate.
"That's bad," Rogers said of the fine. "When you look at it, it's a vicious hit. He's 260 pounds and I'm pretty sure Brees is a little over 200. Any time you blindside a guy like that it's a vicious hit.
"But when you slow it down, he didn't touch his head. I'm surprised in the fine. A lot of people are probably surprised. Enough's been said around the world about that hit. I think at the time, as a referee just seeing it, I think the back judge threw it, you have to throw that flag then. Unfortunately it hurts us on our side of the ball. That was a big play at that time of the game."
AP Pro Football Writer Barry Wilner contributed to this story from New York.
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org