Illegal hit costs Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie $21,000

It will not take long for defensive players around the league to consider the consequences.

The NFL fined Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie $21,000 for unnecessary roughness in his team’s preseason opener last week against the Pittsburgh Steelers. ProFootballTalk.com first reported the news.

The league was backing up game officials who threw a flag on the play for a hit on Steelers reserve quarterback Byron Leftwich. The NFL deemed that Rodgers-Cromartie struck a defenseless player in the head/neck area.

Why the steep price tag? The fine increased by 5 percent this year as part of the CBA. So, defensive players may want to think twice: Make a huge hit or risk a steep fine.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune