Roger Goodell and the NFL have made it clear they’re going to be more aggressive than ever in punishing players who stray from the rules in 2011.
The most often used weapon of punishment in their arsenal is to hit the players where it hurts most—their bank accounts. And when the players you’re fining make as much money as pro football players do, those fines can get seriously large.
The 2010 season saw high-profile players fined for high-profile hits and other rule infractions. 2011 will be much of the same.
These are the 10 players most likely to be the victims of Roger Goodell’s long arm of the law this coming season.
Ray Lewis has been one of the most intense men in the NFL for over a decade now.
And if there’s anything that’s a recipe for fines, it’s intensity.
Always around the ball and always laying hard hits on the other team’s ball carriers, Lewis is a good bet to be fined in 2011.
Lawson is an underrated fine magnet.
An outside pass rusher, he was fined $12,500 last year for a hit on Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton.
With his penchant for getting to the quarterback, and his disregard for how he brings them to the ground, Lawson could see himself with more fines in 2011.
Diva wide receivers always seem to draw the attention of the league discipline office. Especially ones who get in the end zone as frequently as Jackson.
Last year he emerged as one of the most exciting big play receivers in the league. He’s a threat to score every time he gets his hands on the ball.
I’m thinking there’s going to be a few times the league thinks he goes too far with his post-touchdown theatrics this season.
Already a lock to be the most scrutinized player in the NFL this year, Burress won’t be able to get away with anything.
The league will be putting his behavior under the biggest microscope imaginable. They want to make sure he stays in line when he gets back on the field this year.
He’s been a handful for every team he’s been on. Expect to see him challenge the authority of the league and whatever team brings him on board for 2011.
A hard-hitting defensive back, Clark has been known to go over the edge from time to time.
He’s been let off the hook for his questionable hits in the past. But with the league paying closer attention than ever to hard hitters, he’s not likely to walk away from any more without a fine.
The NFL front offices will be paying particular attention to the Steelers this year, so Clark will have no wiggle room.
Meriweather is another defensive back who likes to go for the big hit.
He hasn’t been lucky enough to avoid paying for it in the past. Last year he was fined $50,000 for a vicious helmet-to-helmet hit on the Baltimore Ravens' Todd Heap.
Meriweather prides himself on being aggressive and going for the highlight hit, which will give the league plenty of opportunities to fine him in 2011.
Seymour is considered by many to be one of the dirtiest players in the league.
He was fined $7,500 in 2009 for pulling the hair of Denver Broncos offensive lineman Ryan Clady.
Then he upped the ante with his sucker punch on Ben Roethlisberger last year, drawing a $25,000 fine that many thought should have been much larger.
Seymour should give the league a few good reasons to reach into his wallet in 2011.
A controversial, attention-getting machine, Chad Ochocinco has been paying for his antics for years now.
He’s been fined multiple times for his theatrical end zone celebrations. He toned down his post-touchdown shows in 2010. But instead of staying fine free, he found a new way to drain his bank account.
Ochocinco bucked the NFL’s new Twitter policy last year and was whacked $25,000 for tweeting during a preseason game.
Now that’s dedication to getting fined.
Finnegan is the one player the other players love to hate the most. Just ask Andre Johnson.
Never one to shy away from conflict, Finnegan has made a career out of getting under the opposition's skin.
His willingness to take swings at the other team has lead to plenty of fines in the past few years.
If he isn’t being fined for getting into scraps on the field, he’s being fined for hits like the one he laid on the Giants' Steve Smith last year, which earned him a $5,000 withdrawal from his game check.
The gold standard for fine, worthy NFL players.
James Harrison plays football the old school way. He tries to separate the ball carrier's head and limbs from his body.
And the best part is he’s not the least bit repentant about how often he’s had to face the revenue arm of the NFL.
When you’re the reason the league makes a new rule to punish your team for what you do on the field, you know you’ve taken the art of being fined to a whole new level.