Redskins rookie Niles Paul popped $20,000 for illegal hit

Washington Redskins wide receiver Niles Paul has been fined $20,000 by the NFL for a helmet-to-helmet hit in Sunday’s victory over the St. Louis Rams at the Edward Jones Dome.

Paul hit Rams punt returner Austin Pettis as the ball arrived, and the NFL deemed it was a shot to the head, according to Rick Maese of the Washington Post. Paul, a rookie, was called for a penalty on the play.

“I was running down there full speed and I was conscious that I don’t want to do a helmet-to-helmet shot,” Paul said after the game. “So what I did, I was trying to time it up. I didn’t want to slow down because I’ve been taught to run through the returner . . . so I lowered my shoulder and tried to move my head to the side. He ended up getting low.

“It didn’t look like helmet-to-helmet to me. I didn’t think I hit him with my helmet.”

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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