NEW YORK — Steelers receiver Emmanuel Sanders was fined $15,000 and his team $35,000 by the league for faking an injury. It's the first time the league has issued fines for faking an injury.
With the Steelers leading the Bengals late on Oct. 21, Sanders, standing in the huddle, suddenly grabbed the back of his leg and collapsed to the ground. Officials stopped the clock, allowing the Steelers to save a timeout.
In a letter to Sanders and the Steelers, league executive Ray Anderson said video showed Sanders running "swiftly and effortlessly" after the injury supposedly left him in severe pain.
"Moreover," the letter read, "after missing the one play …and receiving no apparent treatment, Sanders returned to the game for a fourth-down punt on which he outsprinted all of his teammates 26 yards down the field, arriving at the ball ahead of all other Pittsburgh players and then downing the ball."
Anderson said he found no evidence the Steelers as an organization instructed or condoned faking injuries: "If I believed that to be the case, the discipline would be substantially more."
Neither the team nor Sanders were available Friday for comment.
More Steelers: Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who previously said he would miss a game to see his child be born, hinted that will happen soon. Asked on the Dan Patrick Show about a name, he said, "I'll let you know in like two weeks." He added his teammates, coaches and owner support him.
Patriot suspended: New England rookie running back Brandon Bolden was suspended four games for violating the league's policy on performing-enhancing substances. Details weren't disclosed. He has run for 234 yards (137 against the Bills on Sept. 30) and two touchdowns in six games.
Bills: The neck injury that forced starting defensive end Chris Kelsay out of Thursday's practice is not serious. But he is questionable for Sunday.
Giants: Starting guard Chris Snee practiced for the first time since rolling an ankle Sunday but is questionable to play.
Jaguars: Coach Mike Mularkey said quarterback Blaine Gabbert will start next week if healthy. He left Thursday's loss to the Colts during the fourth quarter after aggravating his left (nonthrowing) shoulder injury.
Lions: A day after saying for the second time this season he sustained a concussion on a helmet-to-helmet hit Sept. 30 against the Vikings (contradicting the team), receiver Calvin Johnson reversed himself. He also said he didn't sustain nerve damage as he said Thursday. "I misused the terms 'nerve damage' and 'concussion,' " he said. "I have not suffered any nerve damage nor have I received any treatment for nerve damage. I did suffer a stinger." Johnson, dealing with a knee injury, also practiced for the first time this week and will play Sunday.
Raiders: The team's top running backs, Darren McFadden Mike Goodson, will sit out Sunday with high ankle sprains sustained against the Bucs. Taiwan Jones, who has played primarily on special teams this season, and fullback Marcel Reece have split reps in practice this week. Also, starting defensive tackle Richard Seymour will be out with a hamstring injury.
Texans: Coach Gary Kubiak said tight end Owen Daniels was "very limited' in practice with a back injury and will be a game-time decision Sunday.
Vikings: Receiver Percy Harvin missed his third straight practice with a sprained left ankle and is doubtful for Sunday.