CINCINNATI -- The news Cincinnati Bengals safety George Iloka had dreaded hearing the past five weeks finally came Monday. After reviewing his appeal of a fine that stemmed from his Sept. 22 hit that left Green Bay Packers tight end Jermichael Finley with a concussion, the NFL decided Iloka's fine deserved to be upheld.
Iloka told reporters the day after the Bengals' 27-24 win at Detroit that the appeal was denied.
If there was a silver lining to the news for Iloka, though, it was that the league reduced his original fine of $15,000 to $10,000, he said.
The hit came in the first quarter of Cincinnati's 34-30 win over the Packers when Finley was stretching out for a throw deep down the middle of the field. As Finley started reaching for the ball, Iloka closed in, preparing for a tackle. He appeared to slow his momentum, though, as Finley started bobbling the ball. As the ball left Finley's hands, Iloka, slowed momentum and all, still ended up making contact with the back of the tight end's head, brushing by with his forearm in a tackle-ready position.
After Iloka bumped into him, Finley's head ended up hitting the ground. Finley was slow to get up and needed to be evaluated by trainers. After several moments, he finally walked to the sideline and then eventually went into the Packers' locker room, where he was officially diagnosed with a concussion.
Finley, who may have suffered yet another serious head injury in Sunday's game against the Browns and is in the intensive care unit of a hospital, didn't miss a game following Iloka's hit. He would have missed the next week, but the Packers had a bye. He returned when their schedule resumed two weeks later.
About two weeks after Iloka's hit, Finley told reporters in Green Bay that he thought the play was clean. Referees must have thought so, too. They did not flag Iloka at the time.
"It was a great hit," Finley said. "I didn't think it was dirty at all. That's my opinion. If I was [Iloka], I'd do the same thing. It's a part of the game."
Iloka defended the hit, as well.
"You've just got to eat that fine," he said when the original fine was handed down. "I'd rather take whatever the fine is than let a guy make a big catch on third-and-whatever."
The Bengals allowed plenty of "third-and-whatever" catches in Sunday's win over the Lions. All three of Detroit's touchdowns came on third down.
Iloka is the second Bengals player to receive a fine this season. Linebacker Vontaze Burfict had already been slapped with fines for two separate incidents, including a $7,875 fining that came last week for a face mask during the Bengals' game against the Patriots two weeks ago. He also was fined $31,000 for two different infractions that came against the Packers.