Antonio Brown Reportedly Fined for Cleating Punter Spencer Lanning in Face

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistSeptember 11, 2014

Sep 7, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown (84) runs over Cleveland Browns punter Spencer Lanning (5) during the first half at Heinz Field. Brown was flagged on the play. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports
USA TODAY Sports

The Internet exploded, and everybody had fun with Antonio Brown's inadvertent kick to Cleveland Browns punter Spencer Lanning's head in Week 1, but the NFL has dropped the hammer on the Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver.    

According to NFL.com's Ian Rapoport, the league will fine Brown $8,200:

You can view the play below. Brown was in the open field after returning a punt. He likely had the idea of hurdling Lanning, only for the attempted hurdle to backfire in a big way.

To his credit, Lanning took everything in stride:

Cleveland.com's Tom Reed reported that Lanning and Brown never spoke after the game, despite the Steelers wide receiver saying otherwise. Lanning said he didn't feel any animosity toward Brown but just wanted to talk after the game:

I wasn't angry or anything like that. It was just sort of shocking. I was just going to laugh. Exactly what he said was pretty much what was going to happen. I was going to laugh about it and let it be. As a punter, (Brown) just should have given me a move I thought, but whatever.

Browns special teams coach Chris Tabor went on record saying he believed the kick to be accidental, per Mary Kay Cabot of The Plain Dealer in Cleveland:

Even if Brown's kick was unintentional, the league had little recourse but to hit him with a small fine. The NFL can't try to improve player safety and then sit on its hands when a player is cleated in the face.

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Brown's not going to miss any game time, so the league isn't coming down too hard on him. Few would argue that his kick deserved any sort of suspension.

A suspension would've also been unduly harsh on the Steelers, who face off with the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday night, which would have been extremely short notice. Pittsburgh will need its best receiver on the field to topple its AFC North rival.