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Patriot players react to Meriweather's hefty fine

Posted by Monique Walker, Globe Staff  October 19, 2010 06:17 PM

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FOXBOROUGH -- The NFL's attempt to get the attention of players about helmet-to-helmet hits is at least making jaws drop.

Patriots LB Rob Ninkovich was told by a reporter about the $50,000 fine safety Brandon Meriweather received from the league today. Ninkovich's first response was, "Wow!'

"That's a lot of money," Ninkovich said. "It's a shame that that's a $50,000 fine but I guess the NFL is trying to get their point across to everybody that they're not going to tolerate that. It's good that he's not suspended because I feel like that wouldn't really be fair to him."

Rookie CB Devin McCourty said he understands safety is first and he doesn't think being physical has to mean injuring an opponent.

"It's tough," McCourty said. "There's just no black and white. It's a gray area. You want to be physical but at the same point you have to know you can't do some things. As players, we're all playing football together even though we're on separate teams. We're not trying to intentionally hurt anyone. ..."

Ninkovich, McCourty and offensive linemen Rich Ohrnberger and Quinn Ojinnaka were at the Hall at Patriot Place this afternoon participating in the United Way's Hometown Huddle. The players worked with more than 50 children from Massachusetts and Rhode Island United Way agencies to show them ways to stay active and get exercise.

"... If I could have met a football player [growing up] I would have been pretty ecstatic," Ninkovich said. "I never got the chance to, so it's a pretty cool thing to come out here and hang out with some kids."

News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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