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Matt Hasselbeck not laughing at $15K horse-collar fine

Matt Hasselbeck will appeal a $15,750 fine levied by the NFL for his horse-collar tackle in Sunday's loss to Chicago Bears. The Tennessee Titans quarterback ran down Bears cornerback Kelvin Hayden after a fumble by tight end Jared Cook and pulled him to the ground at the 4-yard line.

Hasselbeck had a photo in his locker Wednesday that showed his hand on the back of Hayden's jersey, not in between the neck of the pads.

"It's funny to other people, not funny to me," Hasselbeck told The Tennessean. "We have rules in place and obviously I was trying to play within the rules, I wasn't trying to hurt anybody or anything like that.

"I have been getting a lot of jokes today. Everyone likes to make jokes. We'll see. The guy who got tackled probably didn't even notice. There was nothing violent about the hit."

Hasselbecks's tackling skills are funny, but no one would be happy being fined 15 stacks. I doubt the NFL thought the tackle was maliciously on purpose. But it's not about intent. Guys get fined for accidentally making helmet-to-helmet contact all the time.

Hasselbeck said it himself: The NFL has to have rules. Players have to accept consequences for violating those rules, even if it wasn't on purpose.

The only question is: Does the tackle qualify for the horse-tackle rule? Hasselbeck's hands appear to grab the jersey above the lettering, but below the inside of the collar. Where's Mike Pereira when you need him?

Follow Kareem Copeland on Twitter @kareemcopeland.

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