Steelers' Carter to appeal $5,000 fine

Safety criticizes NFL's position on hits

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Steelers safety Tyrone Carter plans to appeal the $5,000 fine he received yesterday from the NFL over a collision Sunday with Chicago tight end Greg Olsen -- an encounter that left Carter not only injured but also critical of the league's stance about television-replay hits, offensive fireworks and which body parts it strives to protect.

"Yeah, I'm going to appeal it. I'm not going to let them just take my money just for nothing. See if I win or not," Carter said yesterday, when he returned to practice to work out without pads and maintained that he will start Sunday in Cincinnati despite a bruised left thigh. "I think [the penalty is due to] everybody saying 'oooh-ahhh.' They had it all over TV. I didn't get a flag or anything. The referee was right there. They talked about it. And the dude said, 'Nah, he didn't hit him with his head; he led with his shoulder.' It was cool. But the NFL sees something different.

"They said I led with my head, like I hit him helmet to helmet. I didn't do that. I hit him with my shoulder. You know, that's how the league plays. The main thing about it, they want offenses to put scores on the board. ... Look at the rule: They say you can't hit a guy helmet to helmet or up top, but if I was to go lower and hit him in his knee, it's fine. So what do you think? Do you want to hit a guy to have a concussion, or do you want a guy to lose his knee and be done with his career?"

The 6-foot-5 Olsen was running a deep sideline pattern in Steelers territory and dropped the ball when he and Carter met, both falling to the turf injured with 4:47 remaining in the first half of what became a 17-14 Bears victory at Soldier Field.

"He was a big-target receiver, he's like 6-6 or something like that," said Carter, who last week was making his 42nd career start, this time -- and apparently for the next few games -- for the injured Troy Polamalu. "Here I am 5-9. How am I going to hit a guy 6-6 in the head? And I got hurt on the play. It's crazy. But that's what they said, and that's what they fined me for, but I can't let that stop me how I play the game."

Carter, who recalled being twice fined by the NFL previously in his 10 seasons, said he appealed a similar penalty in 2003 while he was playing for the New York Jets -- and accused of improperly clouting current Steelers teammate Hines Ward. That $7,500 fine was reduced by one-third after appeal, Carter said, adding: "So we're back to $5,000 again."

Carter said he expects to start against the Bengals. "Fortunately, I know I'll be ready for Sunday. I know I won't be 100 percent, but as long as I'm around that 90-95, I think I'll be all right."


Chuck Finder can be reached at cfinder@post-gazette.com .


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