Originally written on NFL Injury Report  |  Last updated 10/21/14
The war of words between Jim Harbaugh and Clay Matthews made national headlines all week prior to the 49ers’-Packers showdown on Sunday. Earlier in the week, Harbaugh claimed Matthews was “targeting” his starting quarterback Colin Kaepernick by stating he would hit him “early and often” in the game. Harbaugh’s comments may have been just enough to help draw a questionable flag against Matthews during the game for a late-hit out of bounds; a hit which is now reportedly costing the Packers’ star outside linebacker $15,000, according to NFL.com's Marc Sessler. After the game, head coach Jim Harbaugh even went so far as to call Matthews hit a “cheap shot.” However, when the game tape is slowed down, Matthews clearly left his feet just as Kaepernick was stepping out of bounds. In real-time, the play appeared much worse than it actually was, especially since it incited a bench-clearing brawl immediately afterward. Regardless of whose side you take, the league re-assessed the hit and decided that Matthews should be fined $15,000. What is now interesting is whether or not the war-of-words between the Packers’ All-Pro and the 49ers’ Head Coach had anything to do with the leagues decision to fine Matthews. Surely the argument can be made that the play was a clear penalty, but to fine Matthews such an extreme amount of money seems a bit odd in this case. Every week there are a number of bang-bang plays similar to the play in question and yet, the players involved are rarely penalized outside of the game. It seems that in this particular case, Jim Harbaugh may have simply outsmarted Clay Matthews before the game ever started. An interesting lesson that may have cost the star pass-rusher a hefty chunk of change. Matthews has since stated that he has decided to appeal the fine. Follow @TheNFLInjuryRpt Looking for fantasy football advice?
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