NFL fines Patriots NT Wilfork $5,000 for low hit

For the second time this season, New England Patriots nose tackle Vince Wilfork has been sanctioned for a late or illegal hit, with the NFL levying a $5,000 fine against the fourth-year veteran for a play in last Sunday's victory at Dallas.

The fine, first reported by The Boston Globe, was confirmed by league officials.

The play in question occurred early in the second quarter, on a 3-yard run by Cowboys tailback Marion Barber off left guard. During a skirmish at the end of the run, New England defensive end Ty Warren was penalized 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct, moving the ball to the Patriots' 39-yard line.

On the play, Wilfork was engaged with Dallas tight end Jason Witten, but was not penalized. In reviewing the play, however, the league's officiating department apparently determined that Wilfork was excessively aggressive and exercised unnecessary roughness.

It is not known if Wilfork will appeal the fine.

His first fine of the year, a $12,500 sanction, resulted from a play during the Sept. 23 game with the Buffalo Bills. In that game, Wilfork was penalized for driving his arm into the knee of Buffalo quarterback J.P. Losman, an illegal hit that forced the Bills' starter from the game two plays later.

Losman sustained a strained knee ligament on the play and missed the ensuing two games. Although he is healthy this week, rookie Trent Edwards, who replaced the injured Losman, has retained the starting job.

Wilfork did appeal the $12,500 fine and had his hearing with league officials earlier this week. The league has yet to rule on his appeal.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior writer for ESPN.com.