The Denver Broncos have been put on notice; after 17 years, the NFL is finally getting wise to quarterback Peyton Manning’s on-field antics. On Saturday, Manning received his first career unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for taunting. On Thursday, he received his first career fine for said penalty.
During Saturday’s preseason loss to the Houston Texans, Manning got into the face of Texans safety D.J. Swearinger following a touchdown pass. On the play directly preceding the touchdown, Swearinger hit receiver Wes Welker in the head, forcing him out of the game with a concussion. Now the NFL has hit Manning in the pocketbook.
ESPN’s Chris Mortenson first reported the fine, which is said to be $8,258. Manning confirmed the report, and is not expected to appeal.
"I accept the fine,” Manning told Mortensen. “It's money well spent."
Manning should not have any trouble ponying up the dough, as he is scheduled to make $15 million in base salary this season, and also receive $2.5 million of his prorated signing bonus. While the penalty may seem out of character for Manning, he was commended by many of his teammates for sticking up for Welker.
While Welker has yet to clear the league’s concussion protocol; he is said to be progressing in his recovery. He was cleared to travel to Dallas for Denver’s preseason game against the Cowboys on Thursday, but not to play. This is his third concussion in less than a year, but is not thought to be as serious as the previous two.
"He's in the exercise mode right now,” head coach John Fox told KOA-AM radio of Welker. “He won't be back out there until he's completely well."