Detroit Lions' defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh has become known by many as a dirty player, and those allegations exploded this week when he got into a scuffle with a Green Bay Packers' lineman and apparently kicked or stomped on him as he was getting up.
This play has sparked debate on whether or not Suh is dirty. One thing is for sure: Suh's aggressive style of play is what has gotten him that rap with many people, and it's also gotten him fined by the NFL. Whether it has been deserved or not, we'll visit.
Here is a list of four players who have been highly fined recently.
Pittsburgh Steelers' safety Ryan Clark has been dubbed this year's James Harrison by some.
Clark has been fined twice in back-to-back games against the Patriots and the Ravens for a total of $55,000.
The first fine was for $15,000 and came against New England tight end Rob Gronkowski. Clark hit Gronkowski when he was already out of bounds and was also penalized on the play.
The second fine was for $40,000 and came just one week later against Baltimore. Clark was fined for supposedly leading with the crown of his helmet on a hit against tight end Ed Dickson, but there was a lot of controversy around the discipline, as many argued he did his best to lead with his shoulder.
Meriweather's first fine was for $50,000 (which was eventually reduced to $40,000) for multiple illegal hits in a game against the Baltimore Ravens when he was still with the New England Patriots.
His last two came in back-to-back weeks this season with the Bears. He was fined $20,000 for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Steve Smith of the Carolina Panthers, and one week later against the Detroit Lions, he was smacked with a $25,000 fine for an unnecessary roughness penalty at the end of the first half.
Meriweather signed a one year deal with the Bears worth $3.25 million before the beginning of the 2011 season, but Chicago may be regretting that now.
James Harrison was the talk of the NFL in 2010, when he was slapped with four fines totaling $125,000.
All four of those fines were for vicious hits.
The first was a $5,000 fine for a hit on Titans' quarterback Vince Young. The second was one of the most infamous scenes of the year, a helmet-to-helmet hit of Browns' wideout Mohamed Massaquoi that cost him $75,000.
After he was hit with a third fine, $20,000 for a hit on Saints' quarterback Drew Brees, it seemed like the league was starting to pick on Harrison. Yet another fine for $25,000 because of a hit on Bills' quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick only fueled the fire.
Questions arose about whether Harrison was a dirty player and whether the NFL had gone soft. Harrison has had a much quieter 2011, but at one point he was expected to collect yet another fine for an illegal hit.
Ndamukong Suh is one of the hottest topics in the NFL right now. Suh's incident in the Green Bay Packers' game on Thanksgiving day was enough to get a fire started. The only thing was, the fire was already started from several previous penalties and three fines Suh had been hit with.
I can't speak for some of these other cases since I haven't studied them as closely, but my opinion on Suh is that he is not a dirty player and he has been wrongly fined at least once.
Suh's "stomping" incident (to me it looked like more of a light kick; he put no weight on the player's arm and inflicted no visible damage or pain) was overblown, but at the same time, that was one incident that I have to agree with his critics on.
Suh never should have lost his cool in that manner, and that's something he will have to work on going forward. It was disappointing to see for someone who has defended him and regarded him so highly despite his play being called dirty. He will likely be fined a fourth time for the incident, and he will also likely be suspended.
Outside of that play, however, I haven't seen one incident that should earn Suh the "dirty" label. Fines for violent tackles on quarterbacks Jake Delhomme and Andy Dalton may have been required based on today's rules, but Suh was simply playing football the way it used to be played by some of the game's all time greats.
The one fine that was blatantly undeserved was the fine for a "forearm to the back of the head" of Jay Cutler. Replay proved that it was actually a simple violent push to a player that should have been deemed a runner, and there wasn't an illegal thing about it.
All of this aside, it doesn't look like Ndamukong Suh is going to change his style of play because of some penalties and fines, so expect more fines against Suh in the future.