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Patriots @ Cowboys: News and Notes

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Pats' Vrabel, 'Boys' Williams Fined
Phillips Denies Calling Patriots 'Tainted'

New England Patriots linebacker Mike Vrabel was fined $5,000 for what the league called unnecessary roughness in the closing seconds of New England's 34-17 win over Cleveland. According to the Boston Herald, the league find Vrabel because, "specifically, on a spike play, he unnecessarily drove the opponent toward the quarterback after the ball was dead."

The fine was precipitated by Cleveland guard Eric Steinbbach whining after the game that Vrabel was a "dirty player."

Note to Steinbach: If you want to play tennis, you're in the wrong league.

Vrabel appeared on WAMG 890 AM (ESPN) earlier today and said he would appeal the fine. Micheal Felger asked the obvious question whether the league is just piling on the Patriots to which Vrabel said he's interested just in playing football.

Meanwhile, it's clear that everyone who has the opportunity is going to complain about anything the Patriots do, whether they themselves do the same or worse. Of course, the only way some people can rise is to drag other better people down.

Speaking of 'Dirty' Players

The Patriots will need to watch their backs, literally, on Sunday, especially if they're carrying the ball. There's one Cowboy who wrangles them doggies in such a manner that he now has a rule named after him.

"Feared" safety Roy Williams was fined for the second time this season by the NFL for a "horse-collar" tackle Monday on Bills running back Marshawn Lynch. This time it cost Williams $15,000. He was fined $12,500 two weeks earlier for executing the move on Bears tight end Desmond Clark.

Horse-collar tackles were banned by the NFL following the 2005 season. The ban is commonly known as the "Roy Williams rule" after several players, four by Williams, sustained significant injuries as a result of the maneuver. Neither Lynch nor Clark were injured this time around.

Phillips Denies Saying Patriots Are 'Tainted'

Sports Illustrated's Peter King, who has some kind of vendetta against the Patriots, said on HBO's "Inside the NFL" this week that Cowboys head coach Wade Phillips called the Patriots success tainted as a result of the videotape scandal. Friday, Phillips vehemently denied making such a statemnent:

"I think it's ludicrous to demean a team, an organization that has done a great job and won all those games, and deserved every bit of it," Phillips said. "They won all those championships. They deserve every bit of what they got."
Since New England turned over the materials related to the scandal as requested by the league, and the league closed the case on the matter, King has been on a one-man crusade to besmirch the Patriots. He insists there's a smoking gun somewhere (ya, it was the camera on the Jets sideline .. end of story) and has implied that it's a league office conspiracy to cover up Patriots' past wrongdoing.

Of course, King has never once suggested (not that I've read or heard) that the league should investigate all 32 teams for improprieties -- just the Patriots -- and apparently he's prepared to manufacture evidence if necessary.

King stands by his report of Phillips comments.