NFL fines Steelers' Mike Mitchell $48K for late hit on Alex Smith

The NFL has fined Pittsburgh Steelers defensive back Mike Mitchell $48,620 for his hit on Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith on Sunday, which was not only late, but also low.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter tweeted that Mitchell will appeal the fine.

On the third quarter play, Smith dropped back and was quickly pressured, in part by Mitchell, who came in untouched on a blitz. Smith stepped out of the initial contact, and dumped the ball off to rookie Kareem Hunt, who was open in the flat.

Steelers safety Mike Mitchell (23) was fined this week for a late hit on Chiefs QB Alex Smith. (AP)

The ball is out of Smith’s hand when Mitchell, still in pursuit, hits him. But he didn’t just hit Smith, he came in from behind, going low and near the quarterback’s knees, the type of takedown that can lead to knee injuries – and many believed should have meant a suspension for Mitchell, a repeat offender when it comes to dirty hits.

Mitchell was flagged for roughing the passer on the play, and a fired up Smith got up yelling at Mitchell.

“I felt like it was extremely late,” he said this week. “I felt there was nothing done there to avoid contact. It was really low from the backside. I thought it was about as flagrant as it gets when it comes to a low hit on the quarterback.”

Smith went on to say, “I don’t think this is a first offense, either. I think when you start looking at … repeat offenders, I think when they get shots at quarterbacks, they’re going to take them.”

Mitchell has been fined twice before for unnecessary roughness.

For his part, Mitchell has said that he tripped and didn’t mean to fall into Smith’s legs, insisting, “I’m not a dirty player.”

ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler tweeted that in addition to the $48K for the Smith hit, Mitchell picked up a second fine from the game, for grabbing a facemask, though it is unclear the amount – usually facemask fines are $9,115, but that amount doubles for repeat offenders.

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