NFL reportedly fines Mike Mitchell $48,620 for dangerous low hit on Alex Smith

Calling an NFL player "dirty" is a pretty aggressive accusation, but there is a reasonable argument to be made that Steelers safety Mike Mitchell can often cross the line into questionable territory with some of the hits he lays on guys. There is almost no doubt that the hit he put on Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith in Week 6 was dirty. The NFL agrees, hitting Mitchell with a $48,620 fine this week, per Adam Schefter of ESPN

Mitchell, coming from behind Smith, dove low at the quarterback after the ball was released. Smith got pretty fired up about the incident.

Mitchell will appeal, but the fine doesn't actually match up with anything from the 2017 NFL Fine Schedule, which means the league thought the play dirty enough to bump up the amount. Honestly, the math doesn't add up, but it's basically the amount for a combination of first offense fines for a late hit, hitting a defenseless player and roughing the passer. Maybe they just lumped them all together and came up with a number or maybe they got him on the late hit status and just cranked up the cost. The second offense late hit fine is just $17,363. 

There have been some people out there defending Mitchell, including the safety himself, saying he got pushed from behind amid a crazy play.

"I felt myself tripping," Mitchell said. "I felt myself being pushed. I felt myself losing balance. I was aware of the rule. If you watch the tape, I'm trying to turn my body while I'm falling. Alex is backpedaling into me. I wasn't even going in the direction of Alex. He actually is throwing and fading away. There are a lot of things that go into the play that make it an accident.

"The video shows what it shows. I wasn't trying to take Smith's knees out. I went up to him and told him that. If you look back at my statements over the past two or three years, I think I've given Alex Smith more credit than anyone in the media before this season. Fact check that."

Mitchell can protest all he wants, but it's hard to buy that he accidentally fell right at Smith's lower body on the play in question. 

"Certainly when I got fired up, I thought [the hit] was pretty late,'' Smith said after the game. "I mean, when you get hit in the back of your knee like that, I didn't understand how that happened. Certainly guys falling, rushing the quarterback, I get it when it's happening from the front and guys are trying hard. That one to me just seemed so weird to get hit that low coming from behind."

Later in the week, Smith would say that the play was "about as flagrant as it gets." 

"I felt like it was extremely late," Smith said. "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."

Good luck to Mitchell on his appeal. He's probably not going to win it, although he could get a reduction.

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Will Brinson joined CBS Sports in 2010 and enters his seventh season covering the NFL for CBS. He previously wrote for FanHouse along with myriad other Internet sites. A North Carolina native who lives... Full Bio

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