Initially reported by ESPN as a $48,620 fine for a low hit on Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith, Mitchell actually was fined only $9,115. Ultimately, the price tag fell all the way to zero dollars and zero cents.
Michele Tafoya of NBC’s Sunday Night Football reports that Mitchell won his appeal of the fine for a low hit on the Chiefs quarterback during Pittsburgh’s Week Six win in Kansas City. The decision has served only to intensify Mitchell’s feelings about the criticism he took for a hit that many regarded as dirty.
“I was very frustrated with Alex [Smith] and people in the media,” Mitchell told Tafoya. “Matt Hasselbeck, we’re gonna have words next time we’re on [Monday Night Football]. You don’t know me. And you call me a repeat offender? Two personal fouls over the past three years.”
The winning argument on appeal apparently came from the contention that the hit to Smith’s knees happened accidentally.
“The Alex hit — I was pushed and tripped into him,” Mitchell told Tafoya. “People who wanted to attack me, be careful. And apologize. I’m a guy who plays right on the line. Fans on the other team don’t like seeing their players get hurt. Tony Gonzales said I should ‘lift more weights.’ I respect you [Tony], but you don’t know me. By the way, [the league] rescinded the fine to zero. I wasn’t going to say anything, but you asked.”
And there’s the answer. Mitchell ultimately was exonerated. While that may not cause those who criticized the hit to change their tune, Mitchell did not break the rules, within the eyes of the NFL’s appeal process.