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Bill Belichick fined $50,000 for making contact with game official

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New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has been fined $50,000 for making contact with a game official following Sunday night's 31-30 loss to the Baltimore Ravens, Judy Battista of the New York Times reports.

Ravens rookie kicker Justin Tucker's 27-yard field goal attempt as time expired sailed over the upright, but appeared to be a successful attempt. As players, coaches and media rushed onto the field, Belichick grabbed the arm of a game official, who continued on his path off the field.

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"It was inappropriate for me to contact the official. I take responsibility for what happened," Belichick said in a statement. "I accept the discipline and I apologize for the incident Sunday night in Baltimore."

During Belichick's post-game press conference on Sunday night, he gave a quick "No" response when asked if he expected to be fined for what had just transpired on the field. Belichick expounded on the matter on Monday.

"I've coached in this league a long time," Belichick said on Monday via ESPNBoston.com. "I've never been penalized, never had any incidents with officials or anything like that. I have never meant any disrespect or in any way tried to abuse or be disrespectful to the officials and the job that they do. I was trying to get an explanation for obviously an important call/play in that game. That's the No. 1 thing between coaches and officials, it's always at the forefront, just communication of what's going on and what's happening."

This is at least the second time that Belichick has been fined by the National Football League. In 2007, Belichick was fined $500,000 over the SpyGate scandal. Salaries for coaches are not published, and rarely become public, but according to Forbes, Belichick is among the highest-paid head coaches in the NFL, earning an estimated salary of $7.5 million per season.

Through the Patriots' public relations department, Belichick has issued the following statement:

[Related: Talks progressing but settlement with regular refs 'could take another week']

"It was inappropriate for me to contact the official. I take responsibility for what happened. I accept the discipline and I apologize for the incident Sunday night in Baltimore."

Belichick was not the only coach to be fined for an incident with a game official this week. Washington Redskins offensive coordinator was fined $25,000 for chasing down and berating officials in the tunnel after his team's 38-31 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals last Sunday.

Earlier this week, Mike Klis of the Denver Post reported that Denver Broncos head coach John Fox was fined $30,000, and defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio fined $25,000, for berating game officials during the Broncos' 27-21 loss to the Atlanta Falcons on Sept. 17.

In other officials-based fine news, Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com reports that the league will not levy fines against any of the Green Bay Packers who went on Twitter to criticize, often colorfully, the league and the officials for what had transpired on Monday night.

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