5 biggest fines NFL players were forced to pay feat. Ray Lewis
Fines in the NFL have become common. Throughout the course of a now 17-game season, it's simply difficult to abide by all the rules. Still, oftentimes, NFL players hardly blink when a fine is levied in their direction.
Innocuous numbers such as a $10,000 fine for a late hit or a $6,000 fine for jumping into a fight unnecessarily, which seems like hefty financial blows to us regular people, are merely glossed over by countless NFL stars. However, there have been times when the league has issued the sort of fines that made NFL players sweat.
Regardless of who was in the right and who was clearly in the wrong, NFL players were forced to pay the piper. The question is, among the enormous fines that were issued, which players had to dig deep into their pockets to pay those gigantic fees? Let's take a look at the five highest fines in NFL history.
#5 Brian Urlacher
Fine amount: $100,000
The NFL is very particular about the partnerships and alliances they’ve gained throughout the years. The NFL will also do whatever it can to preserve those partnerships while avoiding conflict. Brian Urlacher is a prime example.
During Super Bowl XLI media week, Urlacher plopped into his chair wearing his Chicago Bears uniform. Nothing out of the ordinary right? Well, the former linebacker was also wearing a Vitamin Water hat. The issue with Urlacher’s choice of headwear was that Vitamin Water was not an official sponsor of the NFL, but Urlacher did have a sponsorship deal with the brand. No matter, Urlacher was handed a heft fine in the form of $100,000.
Under normal circumstances, Urlacher would have been fined just $10,000. Nevertheless, since he wore it during Super Bowl week, the NFL made his fine ten times the normal amount due to the exposure. At the time, Gatorade, one of the league’s sponsors and a primary Vitamin Water competitor, paid the NFL $45 million annually.
#4 Ndamukong Suh
Fine amount: $100,000
If a poll was taken to declare who is the dirtiest player in the entire NFL, chances are, Ndamukong Suh would emerge as the leading man.
Although the NFL has long been known for being a physically brutal and mentally taxing game, Suh does his opposition no favors, routinely crossing the line with his play. In 2013, as a member of the Detroit Lions, Suh started his season with a bang. In the first game of the year, Suh issued a low blow to Minnesota Vikings center John Sullivan.
Many believed that a fine simply wasn’t enough. Instead, many lobbied for Suh to be suspended for several games. Despite the public outcry, Suh avoided suspension and dealt with the abnormally large fine. Throughout NFL history, Suh’s $100,000 fine was the largest on the field of play.
#3 Ray Lewis
Fine amount: $250,000
Ray Lewis was on top of the NFL world in 2000. The Hall of Fame linebacker was fresh off a season in which he made his fourth consecutive Pro Bowl and second straight All-Pro. And oh, yeah, his Baltimore Ravens had just won the Super Bowl.
What was supposed to be his shining moment, ultimately turned into Lewis’ worst nightmare. Shortly after the Super Bowl, Lewis found himself involved in a double murder as either a suspect or a witness.
Refusing to fully cooperate with the authorities led to Lewis being charged with obstruction of justice. The NFL, of course, was none too pleased with the charges levied onto Lewis’s name and immediately fined him $250,000. Lewis ultimately paid the fine and moved on with both his life and career.
The standout linebacker dominated in the league for another 12 years before hanging up his cleats for good. By the time Lewis brought the curtains down on his career, he racked up a ridiculous amount of accolades. Lewis was a 12-time Pro Bowler, two-time Defensive Player of the Year, and last but certainly not least, Lewis was able to ride off into the sunset in 2012 with another Lombardi trophy placed safely underneath his arm.
#2 Shaun Rogers
Fine amount: $400,000
Shaun Rogers was never overly dominant in his attempts to drag the opposing team's quarterback down to the turf. Still, despite his somewhat middling numbers, Rogers did put together several solid seasons. With three Pro Bowl seasons plastered on his resume, Rogers was a solid cog on countless poor Detroit Lions teams.
Although he mostly flew under the radar, Rogers drew unwanted attention to himself in a Cleveland airport. While attempting to board a plane and head to his destination, Rogers was caught with a handgun in his carry-on bag.
Unsurprisingly, the league took the news seriously, hitting Rogers with a $400,000 fine.
#1 Jamal Lewis
Fine amount: $760,000
Seldom have running backs been taken with such high-draft selections. While productive at the collegiate level, more times than not, backs are viewed as a position with a transient amount of time on the field. Also, more importantly, with a plethora of RBs entering the draft on a yearly basis, teams often attempt to find under-the-radar backs to add to their roster during the later rounds for cheaper costs.
Despite that overwhelming thought process, NFL execs were amazed by Jamal Lewis' skill set. So much so, in fact, that the Baltimore Ravens snagged the impressive running back with the fifth overall pick in the 2000 NFL Draft.
From the offset, Lewis was impressive. He rushed for 1,364 yards and six touchdowns in year one and would need only four years before leading the league in rushing yards in 2003 with 2,066 yards.
In 2004, however, Lewis's career was a bit derailed. After pleading guilty to drug charges in 2004 and serving four months in prison, once Lewis was released, he was slapped with a $760,000 fine. Luckily for Lewis, he was able to return to the field of play for an additional four more years, registering multiple thousand-yard seasons in the process.