N.F.L. Reduces Three Big Fines for Hits to the Head

, the former defensive coordinator, who oversees player appeals of fines, reduced Robinson’s fine from $50,000 to $25,000, and reduced Meriweather’s fine from $50,000 to $40,000. Then Cottrell decided to revisit the $75,000 fine on Harrison for on Cleveland receiver Mohamed Massaquoi, a punishment that upset Harrison so much that he . With the support of Commissioner , Cottrell reduced that fine to $50,000.

The reductions are sure to ignite questions about whether the league — which had also threatened suspensions for repeat offenders — is going soft on players who make the dangerous hits and who have been angered by the fines, some of which have been levied even if the plays did not draw penalties during the game.

But the person with knowledge of the league’s disciplinary system offered a different explanation: Cottrell, the person said, was convinced by the players that they now understood the rules and had made sincere efforts to alter their style to avoid those types of hits.

JETS FINED FOR TRIPPING The N.F.L. fined the Jets $100,000 for violating league rules when the assistant coach Sal Alosi tripped Miami’s Nolan Carroll on the sideline during a punt return earlier this month.

The Jets were fined because Alosi “placed players in a prohibited area on the sideline to impede an opposing team’s special teams players and gain a competitive advantage.” The N.F.L. called it a competitive violation as well as a dangerous tactic.

The discipline was in response to the actions of Alosi, the Jets’ strength and conditioning coach, and comments made by the special-teams coach Mike Westhoff, who accused other teams of employing similar tactics.

“We will comply with the league’s decision,” the Jets said in a statement. Five inactive players were ordered by Alosi, the team’s strength and conditioning coach, to stand together nearly shoulder-to-shoulder on the sideline in the Jets’ 10-6 loss to Miami on Dec. 12.

Alosi was first suspended without pay for the season and fined $25,000 for tripping Carroll, before being suspended indefinitely by the team after acknowledging that he ordered the players to form the wall. (AP)

SANCHEZ TO START is ready to go for the Jets.

Coach announced that Sanchez would start in the team’s regular-season finale against Buffalo, but Ryan is uncertain how long he will stay in the game. It is possible Sanchez could play a few series or a few quarters before giving way to and Kellen Clemens. “We’ll go ahead and start Mark this game,” Ryan said. “How long he plays, we’ll determine that as the game goes.”

Ryan said Sanchez, dealing with a sore right shoulder, showed some zip on his passes in practice and looked good enough to make Ryan feel comfortable about starting him for the playoff-bound Jets (10-5). (AP) FAVRE STATUS UNCERTAIN At the end of a long, difficult season, ’s status for the finale is again in doubt. The want him to give it one more try and start Sunday at Detroit, but by N.F.L. concussion rules he first must be cleared by the team’s medical staff — and time is running out. The interim coach Leslie Frazier said Thursday that Favre hadn’t passed the first stage of the standard post-concussion testing. (AP)

AROUND THE LEAGUE missed practice because of a leg injury and is unlikely to play Sunday when the Eagles host Dallas. Kevin Kolb, the starter in Week 1, would make his fifth start this season in Vick’s place. … Coach said receiver Marques Colston had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee and may not be able to play in Sunday’s finale against Tampa Bay. Also, the Saints placed kick returner Courtney Roby on injured reserve, officially ending his season three weeks after he sustained a concussion against St. Louis … Jaguars quarterback David Garrard had surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right middle finger. (AP)

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