Jets appealing $100K fine

Updated: January 6, 2011, 4:32 AM ET
By Ian Begley | Special to ESPNNewYork.com

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The New York Jets are appealing the $100,000 fine handed down by the NFL last week for the Sal Alosi tripping incident, a team spokesman said Wednesday.

The NFL fined the Jets last Thursday for violating league rules when Alosi, a strength and conditioning coach, tripped Miami's Nolan Carroll on the sideline during a punt return in the Jets-Dolphins game on Dec. 12. The league said Alosi instructed inactive players to stand in a wall in a prohibited area on the sideline to deter opposing teams' players during special-teams plays, which is a violation of NFL policy.

Alosi was suspended until the end of the season by the Jets for the trip.

Jets spokesman Bruce Speight said Wednesday that the team's appeal was a "typical course of action" and added that any further conversations about the appeals process will remain between the team and the NFL.

The issue was brought up on Wednesday during special-teams coordinator Mike Westhoff's weekly news conference with reporters. The NFL's fine included a penalty for Westhoff, who publicly accused the New England Patriots of using tactics similar to those Alosi employed against the Dolphins.

Westhoff was fined because NFL rules require teams to report suspected violations to the league, rather than making public accusations.

"The fine has been imposed on the Jets to emphasize that clubs are accountable for the actions of their employees and have the obligation to ensure that all members of their organization comply with league rules," the statement read.

When asked about the incident on Wednesday, Westhoff mentioned that the Jets were appealing the fine.

"It's just a process that's ongoing," the veteran special-teams coach said. "Trust me, I'm not in the middle of it, I don't want anything to do with it. I've had enough to do with it already. It's ridiculous. The thing makes me sick."

After the Alosi incident, Westhoff told the media that he had seen similar tactics used by other teams, and he specifically named the AFC rival Patriots. Westhoff said he noticed it when he watched film of past games to see if Alosi had the Jets stand in the wall formation during earlier games.

"Were [the Patriots] teaching it?" Westhoff said at the time. "I have no idea. When they punted were they back? Yes. When the other team punted were they up tighter? Yes. Absolutely. You can look at it -- look at the tape. I'm not accusing the Patriots of doing something wrong, maybe they are doing something smart. That's up to you. Just watch the tape. You tell me. I know one thing, I don't teach it, I don't coach it and I'm not aware that it happened."

The issue first came to light when Alosi was caught on camera putting his knee forward as Carroll ran toward the Jets sideline and was tripped. Carroll was not injured.

On video replays of the moments before Alosi's knee made contact with Carroll, it was apparent the Jets players were standing very close together. Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum said Alosi hadn't been fully truthful during the team's initial investigation, after which they fined him $25,000 and suspended him for the rest of the season. When the Jets learned Alosi had instructed players to stand that way, they suspended him indefinitely.

"We will comply with the league's decision," a Jets spokesperson said last week after the league handed down the fine.

Both Jets coach Rex Ryan and Westhoff have said they were unaware of the tactic.

A few days after the incident, the NFL sent a letter to all 32 teams reminding them of the rules and restrictions for the bench area and sidelines.

Jets owner Woody Johnson has since apologized to Patriots owner Robert Kraft, as well as Dolphins owner Stephen Ross.

"The whole thing is just very frustrating for me to be involved in," Westhoff said Wednesday. "But I think we'll just let the Jets and Mr. Johnson deal with that."

Ian Begley is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.

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