SANTA CLARA – Ahmad Brooks went from being an underrated player on one of the NFL’s top defenses to being a household name virtually overnight.
Former NFL defensive players Ray Lewis and Tedy Bruschi, both ESPN analysts, offered to pay a portion of any potential fine he might receive from the league for the well-documented hit on New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees.
"I never thought I’d get so much support from Ray Lewis and Ted Bruschi," Brooks said.
Certainly, there’s been plenty of negative. There was the 15-yard penalty. There was potential game-changing takeaway that was negated. And, then, there was the $15,750 fine.
But Brooks kept them in perspective on Thursday when speaking with the media.
“I’m not upset, man,” Brooks said. “Obviously, it’s given me a lot of publicity. It’s not worth $16 grand, but this is the most publicity I ever had off of one play.
“I wasn’t angry when I watched it. I was like, ‘Yeah, that’s how you hit somebody. You know what I mean? I was angry at the time the officials threw the flag because that was the game right there.”
Brooks said he will appeal the fine on Tuesday. He lost an appeal of a $12,750 fine earlier this season after he was called for a late hit against Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
“Hopefully, they’ll hear me out because I didn’t intentionally mean to knock him out like that,” Brooks said. “But that’s part of the game. I didn’t hit him in the head. I mean, you can argue that maybe I got him in the neck a little bit, but it was really in the chest, the collarbone area.”
He added, “I didn’t hit him with my helmet. It was my arm, I clotheslined him right here in the collarbone and just by him falling and being 5-11, 6-foot, it made it look like I hit him in the neck.”
Dean Blandino, the NFL’s vice president of officiating, agreed with referee Tony Corrente’s controversial call against Brooks.
“You can’t make forcible contact to the head or the neck area,” Blandino said. “Even if the contact starts below the neck and rises up, if there’s force to that contact, it’s a foul.”
And former 49ers Pro Bowl safety Merton Hanks, the NFL’s director of operations, agreed with Blandino and levied the fine. Hanks is not part of the league’s officiating department.
Brooks, obviously, disagrees with the NFL's stance on the hit.
“I thought it was a clean hit,” said Brooks, who leads the 49ers with 6.5 sacks. “You can argue a little something here and there, but at the end of the day, it was a clean hit. I didn’t hit him in the head. I didn’t hit him in the neck.”
Brooks, who makes $3.55 million this season through base salary and bonuses, said he will not accept any money from Lewis, who has vowed to hand him a check before the 49ers’ game Monday night in Washington.
”I mean, why should I? I’m all right, man,” Brooks said. “I’m OK.”