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BEREA, Ohio — Cleveland Browns rookie safety Jabrill Peppers was fined $24,000 by the NFL for his illegal hit on Bengals receiver Josh Malone on Sunday.

Peppers said he was informed of the fine in an email from the league on Wednesday night. The first-round pick said he stopped reading the letter when he saw the dollar amount.

Peppers delivered a hard blow to Malone’s chest area in the fourth quarter, but the official ruled that he made contact with the receiver’s helmet and assessed him a personal foul. Cincinnati scored a touchdown moments later to wrap up its 30-16 win.

Peppers feels he led with his shoulder and his hit was within the rules. He’s still unclear as to why Malone was considered a “defenseless” receiver as he appeared to be running with the ball.

Peppers plans to appeal the fine.

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