– The NFL bolstered its stance that 49ers outsider linebacker Ahmad Brooks’ controversial hit on Saints quarterback Drew Brees was illegal by fining him $15,750 Wednesday.
Brooks’ agent, Greg Williams, said the fine likely would be appealed.
Brooks was called for a personal foul for hitting Brees in the neck in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 23-20 loss in New Orleans. The initial blow, however, was to Brees’ upper chest, and the game-altering play has created controversy among 49ers fans, the media andformer defensive players.
Former Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, for example, took out his American Express card on ESPN’s “Monday Night Countdown” and vowed to pay half of Brooks’ fine. Former Patriots linebacker Teddy Bruschi offered to pay a third of the fine.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Lewis plans to make good on his promise before Monday’s 49ers-Redskins game on ESPN. “I will see Ahmad on Monday and I will have a check in hand,” Lewis said, according to a tweet from Schefter.
Brooks declined to talk to reporters before leaving the 49ers’ locker room.
Cornerback Carlos Rogers acknowledged that the play was “a vicious hit” by Brooks.
“Because he’s 200 and – what? – 60 pounds and Brees is a little over 200,” Rogers said. “So any time you blindside a guy like that, it’s a vicious hit. But when you slow it down, he didn’t touch (Brees’) head. So I’m surprised by the fine. And a lot of people are surprised by the fine.”
The hit caused a fumble that was recovered by the 49ers, who were leading by three points with a little more than three minutes remaining. The NFL’s head of officiating, Dean Blandino, said Tuesday that even though contact began at Brees’ chest, Brooks’ arm eventually made contact with the quarterback’s neck. Blandino said officials made the right call.
Brooks was penalized and fined $12,750 for a late hit on Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers in Week 1. Williams said he wasn’t surprised by the $15,750 figure because fines usually increase if the infraction occurs again.
Et cetera – Cornerback Tarell Brown was at the 49ers’ facility Wednesday, but he still was in pain following the rib injury that caused him to spend Sunday night in New Orleans. If Brown can’t play Monday against the Redskins as expected, Tramaine Brock will start at right cornerback.• Offensive tackle Joe Staley, free safety Eric Reid and punter Andy Lee are among the leaders in voting for the Pro Bowl. The voting ends Dec. 26, and the team will be announced the next day.
• Wide receiver Michael Crabtree (Achilles’) said he’s recovering well, but he would not say whether he will play Monday. This is the final week Crabtree can practice with the team without being activated to the 53-man roster.