Three Patriots and two Jets were fined by the NFL for violations resulting from a melee late in the fourth quarter of their Sept. 12 game at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, and a fourth Pat received a fine for an illegal hit on Jets quarterback Geno Smith. An attempt by Jets center Nick Mangold to tackle Pats defensive back Aqib Talib on the sideline after an interception triggered the scuffle.
Jets offensive lineman Willie Colon received the largest levy, two fines totaling $34,125, an NFL source told Newsday’s Kimberley Martin. Of that amount, $26,250 was for making unnecessary contact with a game official, and the remaining $7,875was for striking an opponent with his fist. Jets lineman D’Brickashaw Ferguson was fined $15,000 for unnecessary roughness (punching an opponent). Mangold received no fine for his hit.
Three Pats, Michael Buchanan, Alfonzo Dennard and Vince Wilfork each were fined $7,875 for unnecessary roughness (punched an opponent). Defensive end Chandler Jones was hit with a tariff of $15,750 for roughing the passer. He struck Smith in the head and neck area.
Colon has vowed to appeal the fine as excessive, claiming he was unaware he was in contact with an official. “I didn’t really see the ref,” Colon said. “I was looking where Nick and them were at, and I didn’t feel anybody on me. They fined me, and all I can do is appeal it.”
It was an expensive display of solidarity, but Colon believes in standing up for his teammates. “That’s the reason I ran over there,” Colon said. “I saw Nick and Brick in a scuffle. I saw a wave of Patriots. It was my initial reaction to go help them out, go help my brothers out. I’m always going to play like that. Obviously, it costs me a lot of money to play like that. But we’ve got to stand for something.”
Former Hofstra star Colon came to the Jets after spending seven seasons with the Steelers, and his teammates credit him with bringing a physical edge and aggressive attitude to the offensive line. “Willie is fantastic,” Mangold said. “He’s got that energy, the excitement of being an offensive lineman. He’s passionate, and he’s a little more vocal than maybe myself or Brick, and I think that’s a good thing. I think we need that on the offensive line. He’s been a good addition.”
Tackle Austin Howard said Colon’s experience has been a good replacement after the retirement of Brandon Moore. “He’s a veteran of the game who has seen it all,” Howard said of Colon. “He brings the extra aggressiveness, the extra spark that allows us to go out there and be really aggressive as a unit. He brings a lot of fun to the lineup. He’s a natural-born leader, a guy who goes out and gives 110 percent. I really feel we’re connecting right now.”
It was the Jets’ punches that connected at New England, but they demonstrated some togetherness and toughness that may prove worth the cost of the fines.