DENVER -- John Lynch saw the next-day-mail envelope in his
locker and he knew the news wasn't good.
The Denver Broncos safety has the distinction of being the first player
to draw a fine this season, when the NFL sent him a letter
Wednesday demanding $7,500 for a hard hit on Chiefs receiver Dante
Hall in the opener.
"I'm going to let the appeal process begin today," said Lynch,
who has a reputation for being one of the hardest hitters at the
hardest-hitting position in football.
Even before the envelope arrived, Lynch had an inkling he'd be
getting reprimanded. First, he drew a penalty for the hit. Then, he
saw the play on pretty much every highlight show he watched -- over
and over again.
"If you make the highlights these days, you're gonna get
fined," he said. "That's pretty much what it comes down to. It's
kind of hypocritical. They put it on their 'Greatest Hits,' but
they'll fine you for it, too."
Lynch drew the fine for a hard blow just below Hall's face mask
as Hall sprawled out to catch a ball over the middle. The hit came
after it was fairly clear the ball couldn't be caught, though it's
hard to know if Lynch could have pulled up to avoid contact in
He said officials told him he was penalized not for a
helmet-to-helmet hit -- something the league has cracked down on
severely over the past few seasons -- but for taking a shot at a
"They told me he was defenseless," Lynch said. "Isn't that
always the case?"
Lynch spent part of Tuesday with President Bush,
who was in Denver on a campaign stop. ... CB Lenny Walls, out a few
weeks with a dislocated shoulder, wore a splint in the locker room
Wednesday. He was supposed to start opposite Champ Bailey, but a
preseason ankle injury delayed that plan. Now, the shoulder. "I
was looking forward to this year. But there's a lot of season left.
I've just got to stay positive and get healthy," he said. ... The
Broncos will travel to Jacksonville a day early for their game
against the Jaguars, and practice at Alltel Stadium on Saturday in
an attempt to acclimate to the hot, humid weather. ... Jake Plummer
said some of his teammates have taken to calling him "Lefty," a
reference to the right-handed quarterback's decision to throw
left-handed out of his own end zone Sunday. The throw resulted in
an interception. "They call me lefty. There have been some jokes.
It's all fun now because we won," Plummer said. ... Backup RB
Garrison Hearst was listed as questionable for Sunday's game with
an injured ankle.