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Browns rookie fined for Brunell hit

NEW YORK, Oct. 4 (UPI) -- The National Football League fined Cleveland Browns rookie defensive tackle Gerard Warren $35,000 Thursday for his helmet-to-helmet hit on Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Mark Brunell in last Sunday's game.

The incident occurred when Browns defensive lineman Orpheus Roye intercepted a shovel pass on Jacksonville's first play from scrimmage. Warren turned to block, took several steps to Brunell and leveled him with a high hit as the players' helmets collided.

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Brunell suffered a concussion on the play and did not return. Afterwards, he called it "a dirty hit."

Warren, the third overall pick in the 2001 draft, was not penalized on the play and denied any intent to injure Brunell.

Browns president Carmen Policy issed the following statement Thursday on Warren's fine:

"We understand the message the league is trying to send and the goal that the commissioner is seeking to accomplish. We are in favor of any rule that preserves the health of the quarterbacks in this league and will wholeheartedly adopt any instructions that are provided to us by league officials.

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"We are certain that Gerard Warren had no intention to injure or maliciously engage in a hit directed at any Jaguars player. He indicated to our coaching staff that he was not aware of the fact that Mark Brunell was the player involved in the contact until after the play was completed. The heat of the moment coupled with the confusion created by a dramatic turnover resulted in everyone on the field responding in a manner controlled more by instinct than by intent."

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