Rams DE Lewis fined $7,500 for punching Saint

Updated: October 29, 2005, 12:39 PM ET
By Len Pasquarelli | ESPN.com

Earlier this week, St. Louis Rams defensive tackle Damione Lewis expressed regret for losing his temper and punching Saints center LeCharles Bentley in the groin during last week's 28-17 victory over New Orleans.

Nose Tackle
St. Louis Rams

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2005 SEASON STATISTICS
Tot Ast Solo FF Sack Int
9 8 1 0 0 0

On Friday, league officials informed Lewis that he can attach a check for $7,500 to his apology.

While it took a few days longer than anticipated, Lewis assumed he would be fined for the incident, so he wasn't surprised by the league sanction. But even five days after the incident, Lewis was still more chagrined by being ejected from the game, which left the already thin Rams further shorthanded on the defensive line, than by the fine.

"It put my team at a disadvantage, and that was the worst thing," said Lewis, whose fine is believed to be the first levied against him during his five years in the league. "I lost my temper and I know better than that. It put us in a bad spot."

The incident occurred 6 minutes into the game, when Saints quarterback Aaron Brooks was sacked for a six-yard loss. Lewis felt that Bentley rolled over on him after the play and, from one knee, delivered an uppercut to the center's groin. Lewis was flagged for unnecessary roughness, penalized 15 yards, and ejected from the game.

Instead of facing a fourth down, the Saints were awarded a first down, and then scored a few plays later on a touchdown catch by Az-Zahir Hakim, to assume an early 14-0 lead. With Lewis out of the lineup, St. Louis, already playing without defensive end Leonard Little, who remains on bereavement leave following the shooting death of his brother, were forced to scramble the line unit, with only three tackles available.

Lewis reiterated this week that he felt Bentley demonstrated excessive aggressiveness on the play, because he rolled over him and continued contact after the whistle. Bentley was forced to leave the field after Lewis punched him, but returned. He delivered a verbal uppercut after the game, when he noted that Lewis' actions were "about what you would expect out of a guy from [the University of] Miami."

A fine of $7,500 is pretty standard for a first-time offender who is ejected from a game.

Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com. To check out Len's chat archive, click here Insider.