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Broncos defenders fined for headshots on Cam Newton

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Safety Darian Stewart and linebacker Brandon Marshall will be reprimanded for helmet-to-helmet hits during the season opener.

Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Broncos were only flagged for one foul after levying several apparent helmet-to-helmet hits on Cam Newton in the season opener Thursday night. But now at least two members of the defense will be hit in the wallet.

Safety Darian Stewart will be fined $18,231 for his illegal hit on Newton, according to ESPN's Adam Caplan. The standard fine for roughing the passer is $18,231 for a first offense. Brandon Marshall is facing a $24,309 fine for impermissible use of helmet, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Linebackers Von Miller and Shaq Barrett will not be fined by the league for hits on Newton.

Perhaps the most egregious tackle of the night came from Stewart, who crashed into Newton while the Panthers were driving for a game-winning score. It was the only headshot that was flagged, but the penalty was offset due to an intentional grounding call.

Marshall said the Broncos are not a dirty team. "We just play hard, man," Marshall said via Andrew Mason of the team's official website.

"And I feel for [Darian] Stewart and them safeties. Those guys are 200 pounds, 210 pounds, so when they get a 250-pound guy running at them, they're going to either hit them high or low," Marshall said. "They're going to get them down any way they can.

"[Cam] is bigger than all of our linebackers."

On Sunday, the NFL Players Association announced it's launching an inquiry into the handling of Newton, who never missed a snap despite taking several vicious shots to the head. Though the Carolina Panthers say Newton passed four concussion tests after the game, he was never examined during the contest.

A league spokesman told NFL Media's Ian Rapoport last week that Newton wasn't checked out because an independent neurotrauma consultant and Panthers physician concluded there was no indication that he had suffered a concussionNFL.com's Judy Battista also says medical officials did go to Newton on the sidelines during a stoppage of play.

Despite those reports, the NFLPA is going forward with its investigation. The NFL is also looking into the matter. For the first time this year, the NFL and NFLPA have the ability to designate a representative to investigate whether the mandated concussion protocol was properly followed. If the two sides disagree, then the decision will go to an unaffiliated arbiter. Teams that are found to violate the procedure could face severe fines and even the loss of draft picks.

There has been a slew of outrage from Newton's inner circle over the way the situation was handled Thursday night.

The fines likely won't quell those ill feelings, but the NFL is tacitly admitting the officials should've been more proactive Thursday night.