Ochocinco Offers to Pay $20,000 Fine on Behalf of Rookie Foster

New England’s Chad Ochocinco offered to pay the $20,000 fine levied by the National Football League against Tampa Bay Buccaneers rookie Mason Foster for a helmet hit during a preseason game.

Foster was breaking up a pass play to Ochocinco when he appeared to hit the Patriots wide receiver in the helmet with his shoulder and elbow during the Bucs’ 31-14 preseason loss on Aug. 18.

“It’s a lot, but it’s all good,” Foster told the Tampa Tribune when he learned of the fine yesterday. “I’ll pay it and keep on going. It won’t change the way I play.

‘‘I’m going to keep playing football the way I know how to play football,” Foster, who earned a reputation as a hard hitter at the University of Washington, told the Tribune.

Ochocinco addressed NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in a Twitter message, saying he didn’t agree with the fine and would reimburse Foster. The league told Ochocinco NFL rules prevent him from paying the fine, according to the Tribune.

Last October, the NFL said it would hand out fines and suspensions for flagrant hits that endanger the safety of other players, especially if the hits connected with the head. The league has undertaken studies to research the effects of concussions during players’ lifetimes.

Among the first to be disciplined were Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison, who was fined $75,000, and Atlanta Falcons cornerback Dunta Robinson and New England Patriots safety Brandon Meriweather, who were docked $50,000 each, according to the NFL.

Harrison, who hit two Cleveland players hard enough to sideline them with head injuries two days ago, was fined $75,000 because he was a repeat offender, the NFL said. Harrison had been fined $5,000 for a roughing the passer call against Tennessee quarterback Vince Young on Sept. 19.

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