Patriots DL Vince Wilfork has taken a hit for the one he delivered this past Sunday.
Late Thursday, the NFL decided to fine Wilfork $12,500 for his low hit on Bills quarterback J.P. Losman in last weekend's game, according to several news reports.
Earlier in the day, Wilfork denied that the hit was intentional as he discussed the play and its impending ramifications.
"It wasn't intentional," he insisted. "That's the main thing I want to get out.
"For anyone to think I'm a dirty player, or that that was a dirty blow," Wilfork continued, shaking his head, "not at all. I'm far from that. I've got too much love for the game, I've got too much respect for the game, for the players to be labeled a dirty player. That's why I play this game, because I love it."
Wilfork didn't rule out challenging whatever decision came down from the league office.
"I have to deal with it the best way I can. I'll see what they say. I can only see what they say about it and move on."
Meanwhile, Wilfork and the rest of the Patriots defense have had one glaring deficiency in their lopsided start to the 2007 season. Each time their opponents have entered the red zone, they've scored a touchdown.
"We need to go out there and perform better in the red zone," inside linebacker and captain Junior Seau told reporters Thursday.
"Talking about how we're going to do it is something we don't want to hear. We want to go out there and showcase what we know we can do in the red zone (because) we haven't been able to do that."
As for the Pats next game, Monday night versus the Cincinnati Bengals, head coach Bill Belichick was asked if he'd like to engage in some preemptive trash talk with Bengals wideout Chad Johnson.
"I'm not going to fire the first shot," Belichick, who coached Johnson in the most recent Pro Bowl, said with a smile.
And when Johnson held his conference call with the New England media, he expressed his true feelings for Belichick.
"Tell Coach I said I love him," Johnson joked.
"I'm just looking forward to a great challenge. This is more than a football game. This is going to be like a chess match, and I don't think it's really between the players. This is a chess match for the coaches - who's going to make the right moves at the right time?"
ESPN.com's underrated/overrated list of NFL teams has New England ... underrated??? Find out why.
FOXSports.com argues, with compelling evidence, that between Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, Number 12 is better.
And an AP story in USA TODAY offers the Bengals' perspective on their "must-win" game with New England Monday night.