The NFL has fined Patriots quarterback Mac Jones a total of $23,976 for multiple unsportsmanlike actions in last week’s loss to the Bengals, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.
The fine comes in two parts: $13,367 for Jones’s low block on Cincinnati defensive back Eli Apple and $10,609 for a separate unnecessary roughness violation, per Pelissero. The financial punishment marks the first time that the second-year quarterback has been disciplined by the league, despite past incidents that some thought warranted a penalty.
The primary play involving Jones and Apple took place after an apparent Patriots fumble that was picked up by Bengals linebacker Germaine Pratt. During the return, Jones was seen tripping Apple at the knees, though both players were about five yards away from the football.
The fumble was eventually called back, but NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported soon after the game that the league was evaluating Jones for a possible fine in connection with the play. Though financial discipline seemed to be an inevitability, ProFootballTalk’s Mike Florio indicated that the NFL wasn’t considering a suspension.
“Of course I did [notice it]. He tripped me,” Apple said of Jones after the game, per NESN.com. “I thought it was a dirty play. He’s done that before, I’ve seen it.”
Jones has come under fire before for making questionable plays in the past that some have seen as “dirty.” Last season, the Patriots quarterback twisted the ankle of Panthers pass rusher Brian Burns and during a game this year appeared to kick Bears defensive back Jaquan Brisker in the groin while kicking his leg up on a slide.
Jones denied that he intentionally tried to commit a dirty hit on Apple, calling the low block, a “split-second decision.”
“It’s a split-second decision and there’s a lot that goes into it,” the Patriots quarterback said during his weekly radio spot with WEEI in Boston. “You’re out there trying to compete, it’s a physical game. So just trying to help the team win. I have all the respect for Eli and the Bengals. They played a great game. So there’s no hard feelings and definitely no intention to hurt anybody on that play.”