Eagles' Douglas Fined $35G for Hit

Wednesday, January 23rd 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ Eagles defensive end Hugh Douglas was fined $35,000 by the NFL on Wednesday for the hit that knocked Bears quarterback Jim Miller out of last weekend's playoff game.

Douglas plans to appeal the penalty.

``The refs didn't call it and I don't think it fair,'' Douglas said. ``That is how we have always been coached, that he's fair game. I don't understand. He was right in front of me. I felt he was trying to get around me to try and make the tackle and I blocked him. In any other situation, a quarterback never moves. They run out of bounds or get out of the way.''

Philadelphia plays at St. Louis in the NFC championship game on Sunday.

Miller separated his right shoulder during the second quarter of Chicago's 33-19 loss to the Eagles when Douglas blocked him after he threw an interception. Miller didn't return, and was replaced by Shane Matthews.

``We get paid to play football, but evidently the quarterbacks play by different rules,'' Douglas said. ``What would've happened if it was a lineman or a receiver? Would I still have gotten fined?''

Gene Washington, the NFL's director of football operations, said Douglas violated a rule that prohibits a defender from contacting a quarterback until he becomes an active pursuer on a turnover.

Washington said in a letter to Douglas that ``as a result of the timing and character of your pass rush, he either did not have the time or he did not seek to engage himself in a distinctly defensive position with respect to the potential return of the interception.''

There was no penalty called on the play, but many of the Bears said it was a cheap shot.

``It was dirty, uncalled for,'' Matthews said.

Douglas wasn't pleased with Matthews' comments

``Shane Miller had a lot to say about it, but he didn't want to play,'' Douglas said, purposely mixing up Matthews' name. ``He was out there running scared. He didn't want to get all that heat we were putting on him.''

Earlier this season, NFL director of officiating Mike Pereira emphasized that on a change of possession the quarterback ``must not be unnecessarily contacted'' by an opponent ``unless and until he assumes a distinctly defensive position.''

Douglas' fine was his second in two weeks. He was fined $5,000 for a helmet-to helmet hit on Tampa Bay quarterback Brad Johnson in a wild-card game on Jan. 12.

``It was a legal hit,'' Eagles middle linebacker Jeremiah Trotter said. ``He didn't drive the guy into the ground.''