Monday's melee, hit lead to fines for nine

By wire services
Published September 16, 2005

NEW YORK - Nine players were fined for actions during Monday's game between the Eagles and Falcons, with Atlanta defensive tackle Chad Lavalais drawing the biggest, $7,500.

Lavalais used his helmet on quarterback Donovan McNabb, who hurt his chest on the play. McNabb returned to practice Thursday and said he will play Sunday against San Francisco.

"It's a slow process," said McNabb, who did not miss any plays Monday. "I wanted to get out there and test it out. It will be interesting to see the reaction after (today)."

Falcons cornerback Kevin Mathis and Eagles linebacker Jeremiah Trotter, who were ejected before kickoff because of the pregame fight, received $5,000 fines. Falcons cornerback DeAngelo Hall was fined $5,000 for grabbing an opponent's face mask then throwing the opponent's helmet.

Trotter said the league should discipline the officials. He said he did not receive an explanation for the fine or why referee Walt Coleman said the Eagles linebacker threw a punch at Mathis. Trotter maintains he did not throw a punch.

Two Falcons, safety Keion Carpenter and cornerback-kick returner Allen Rossum, were fined $2,500 and one, safety Kevin McCadam, $1,000 for entering a fight area.

Eagles linebackers Keith Adams, Jason Short and Mike Labinjo were fined $2,500 for entering a fight area.

During warmups, Trotter pushed Mathis, who responded with a punch. Hall also appeared to throw a punch. Then everyone got into it, forcing the officials to intervene.

Moments later, another brawl nearly broke out. As the Atlanta players were heading to the locker room, they noticed the Eagles gathering on the Falcons logo in the middle of the field.

The Falcons ran en masse back to midfield and fought for position with the Eagles, forcing the officials to separate the teams again. No punches were thrown, and both teams went slowly to their locker rooms.

"From what I saw, it was mostly their guys running their mouths, throwing the punches, ripping the helmets off, slamming them on the ground," Labinjo said.

Adams, Short and Labinjo said they were trying to break up the fight. Short said, "They've got nothing on me," and said he will appeal the fine.

"It doesn't pay to be the good guy, I guess," Adams said.

Ejected Falcon to miss remainder of season

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. - Kevin Mathis was declared out for the season after tearing the ACL and medial collateral ligaments in his left knee.

Mathis, 31, was covering a receiver during practice Wednesday. He jumped to knock down a pass, and his leg buckled as he came down. Mathis likely will have reconstructive surgery next week.

To replace him, Atlanta signed Christian Morton from the Redskins' practice squad. Morton, who appeared in two games last season, will work as the No.4 cornerback. Allen Rossum is the top candidate for the No.3 slot. But he is questionable after leaving practice Wednesday with a tight hamstring and sitting out practice Thursday.