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NFL Notebook: Clark fined $40,000

Associated Press
The NFL notebook …
PITTSBURGH ó Ryan Clarkís first fine for an illegal hit drew nothing but a remorseful nod from the Pittsburgh Steelers safety.
The second fine ó this one for a violent collision with Baltimore Ravens tight end Ed Dickson on Sunday night ó drew his wrath.
ěThis is the worst, period, point blank,î Clark said.
The Ravens were driving late in the first half when quarterback Joe Flacco tried to hit Dickson running up the seam. Dickson got his hands on the ball before Clark smashed into him. Dickson wasnít hurt on the play, though it appeared his facemask collided into the back of Clarkís helmet before the ball squirted free.
Clark was flagged for unnecessary roughness and the 15-yard penalty helped the Ravens end the half with a Billy Cundiff field goal on their way to a 23-20 victory.
The next day the league hit Clark with a $40,000 penalty for what Clark felt was a perfectly normal play and left him wondering if the NFL has gone too far in policing dangerous hits, particularly ones doled out by the defending AFC champions.
ěThere wasnít anything malicious about it,î Clark said. ěIt wasnít a spear. It wasnít a forearm to the head. It wasnít any of those things and to be fined $40,000 for that? To me itís either targeting me as a single player or itís targeting this team.î
The Steelers have been fined 13 times for more than $182,000 this season, with Clarkís latest the biggest of the bunch.
HAYNESWORTH TO BUCS
TAMPA, Fla. ó Albert Haynesworth didn’t stay unemployed long.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers claimed the 350-pound defensive lineman off waivers Wednesday, one day after the two-time Pro Bowl selection was released by the New England Patriots.
General manager Mark Dominik made the announcement, saying the Bucs more than likely would not have been interested in giving Haynesworth an opportunity to revive his career if Tampa Bay (4-4) had not lost second-year pro Gerald McCoy for the season this week because of a torn right biceps.
“I would say candidly that if Gerald wasn’t hurt right now, I probably wouldn’t do this move. But because of the situation we’re in, I felt Albert Haynesworth has the best ability of any defensive tackle out there. For us and for me, it made sense as an organization to bring him on board,” Dominik said.
OCHOCINCO STAYS
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. ó Haynesworth is no longer a member of the New England Patriots.
Chad Ochocinco seems likely to stay.
The two high-profile players acquired in late July have been major underachievers for the first half of the season.
But Ochocinco is moving ahead in his career with the Patriots. He’s becoming more familiar with Brady and a complex offense different than the one he played in with the Cincinnati Bengals the past 10 years.
His playing time increased on Sunday when he had a season-high five passes thrown his way. But, for the third straight game, he had no catches. Still, on at least two of the passes, he beat the cornerback, but Brady’s passes arrived late.
FINED FOR ORANGE
LAKE FOREST, Ill. ó Chicago Bears wide receiver Earl Bennett has drawn a $5,000 fine from the NFL for wearing bright orange shoes in Monday night’s 30-24 win over the Philadelphia Eagles.
Bennett, who was playing for the first time since Week 2 following a chest injury, said he probably won’t wear the shoes against the Detroit Lions on Sunday at Soldier Field.
“They say they will double the fine, so, it would be 10 grand,” Bennett said. “And I don’t think my wife would like that.”
Bennett was asked if he got an explanation for what was wrong with the cleats.
“They were too orange I guess,” he said.
REDSKINS
ASHBURN, Va. ó It was a bold statement, the type that hangs over a franchise until it’s proven or disproven.
And it came from a coach with quite a track record.
It was on July 29, following the first practice of training camp. Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan bristled over a question about quarterback John Beck’s lack of experience, then expounded by giving the strongest vote of confidence imaginable to both Beck and Rex Grossman.
“You talk about a guy not being experienced ó I believe in the guys,” Shanahan said. “I believe in ’em. And I’ve been doing this for a long time. And I put my reputation on these guys that they can play.”
If that’s truly the case, then Shanahan’s reputation is in a very precarious spot.
COWBOYS
IRVING, Texas ó In his first season’s worth of games running the Cowboys, Jason Garrett has succeeded in changing the culture around the club.
He shook up the daily routine, tightened rules and made life in general more rigid. With an emphasis on “passion, emotion and enthusiasm,” and “being great today,” his approach immediately stabilized the wayward team he inherited.
The Cowboys have gone from routinely getting crushed to being competitive nearly every week, with just one lopsided loss in 16 games. They’ve also won more than they’ve lost, going 9-7.
“He’s been brilliant,” tight end Jason Witten said. “It’s unfortunate the record doesn’t show how fabulous of a job he’s done. … When you turn on that film or the opponents that have played us, win or lose, I think they would say they feel the way we play them and the style we play with. I think that starts with him. The way he coaches and the way he demands that.”
Two major challenges remain: Winning close games (six of those losses are by four points or less) and winning consistently (they’ve yet to win more than two straight games).

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