Whitney Mercilus has been fined $15,000 for a helmet-to-chin hit he put on Joe Flacco during the Houston Texans' loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, The Associated Press reports. Mercilus hit Flacco in the third quarter as the quarterback was already going to the ground. The play drew a 15-yard penalty for roughing the passer.
After the Texans practice Wednesday, Mercilus said that he intends to appeal the fine. According to ESPN's Tania Ganguli, fellow pass rusher and teammate Antonio Smith supported Mercilus, calling the fine "bogus." Ganguli described the play as "exactly the kind of play defensive players decry as a case where there wasn't anything they could have done to avoid the way the hit unfolded."
Mercilus is in his second-year in the NFL, and has already made a name for himself as one of the league's better budding pass rushers. He recorded seven sacks and two forced fumbles at outside linebacker last season. Mercilus is expected to play a much larger role this season with Connor Barwin leaving Houston to join the Philadelphia Eagles. Mercilus has one sack among 13 tackles this season.