San Diego safety Marlon McCree, the subject of considerable criticism from some media quarters after a vicious hit last Sunday that knocked Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh from the game and left him with a concussion, will not be fined.
In reviewing video of the controversial and much-publicized play, which occurred in the fourth quarter, NFL officials determined that contact was shoulder-to-shoulder. There was, the NFL ruled, no helmet-to-helmet contact. Nor did McCree, who seemed to launch himself into Houshmandzadeh, hit the wide receiver with his forearm.
After being on the ground for several minutes, Houshmandzadeh left the game, and did not return. At no time was Houshmandzadeh unconscious. In fact, as he lay on the turf, stunned but apparently coherent, he signaled to game referees to call a penalty.
McCree was flagged for an 18-yard pass interference penalty, moving the ball from the San Diego 45-yard line to the 27-yard line. The possession culminated in a field goal by Bengals kicker Shayne Graham.
McCree and Houshmandzadeh reportedly discussed the incident this week. The Bengals' standout wide receiver has been cleared to play in Sunday's game at New Orleans.
CBS color commentator Dan Dierdorf termed the play "a horrendous cheap shot" during the broadcast, and McCree was the subject of several articles during the week labeling him a dirty player.
While McCree escaped league sanctions, other players weren't so fortunate, with at least a half-dozen fines doled out.
Philadelphia middle linebacker Jeremiah Trotter was fined $7,500 for a "horse collar" tackle on Washington tailback Ladell Betts in the second quarter of the Eagles' victory over the Redskins. The fine further reflects the league's emphasis on enforcing the "horse collar" rule and on punishing those who violate it. Trotter was penalized 15 yards for a personal foul.
New York Jets linebacker Victor Hobson and San Francisco cornerback Shantae Spencer were each fined $7,500 for what was deemed excessive contact against quarterbacks in their respective games. A pair of St. Louis players, wide receiver Isaac Bruce and center Richie Incognito, were fined $5,000 each for unnecessary roughness.
Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com.