Ernie Sims fined $50K, given warning

NEW YORK -- Eagles linebacker Ernie Sims has been fined $50,000 for striking defenseless receiver Lavelle Hawkins in Philadelphia's game with the Titans on Oct. 24.

It's the first large fine handed out by the NFL since it sent a video to the 32 teams emphasizing what hits would bring big fines and possible suspensions.

Sims is a repeat offender, having been fined twice for unnecessary roughness, on Dec. 28, 2008 and on Sept. 13, 2009, both while with the Detroit Lions.

The fine was issued by NFL executive vice president of football operations Ray Anderson, who told Sims that "further offenses will result in an escalation of fines up to and including suspension."

Hawkins' only catch in the game was for 5 yards in the third quarter.

Since Anderson announced a crackdown on flagrant fouls -- the kind that drew a $75,000 fine for Steelers linebacker James Harrison and $50,000 each for New England's Brandon Meriweather and Atlanta's Dunta Robinson last month -- only Sims has been nailed a big amount.

Few penalties have been called for hits to defenseless players in the head or neck area since the crackdown.