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Steelers' Jaylen Warren frustrated after second massive fine for unnecessary roughness penalty

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jaylen Warren (30) jogs off the field during the first half of an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Terrance Williams)
Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jaylen Warren said he won't change how he blocks, even after second fine from the NFL. (AP Photo/Terrance Williams)

Jaylen Warren isn't going to change the technique or intensity with which he blocks. And it continues to cost the Pittsburgh Steelers running back — as of now, Warren said he's forfeited almost two game checks for the 2023 season.

"I mean, it sucks because that's so much money," Warren told ESPN's Brooke Pryor. "But I don't let it alter my play. ... I don't know if I should say this, but if I was in the same situation, I'm still doing what I'm going to do. It's what got me on the team.

"That's hella money. That's so much money. If I got fined $2,000, I'd be pissed, too. But $50,000 is crazy. That's a whole car. That's money I could be giving my family."

For the second time this season, Warren received an unnecessary roughness penalty for using his helmet to engage in a block. The first fine — for hitting Cleveland Browns safety Juan Thornhill — was for $48,000. It was eventually reduced to $39,000 after Warren appealed.

In Week 7, against the Los Angeles Rams, Warren was in pass protection when he went up against linebacker Michael Hoecht. On Tuesday, the second fine was announced — $48,556.

Warren will make $870,000 this season after signing a three-year, $2.75-million contract as an undrafted free agent in 2022.

One of his chief complaints with the fines is that they're not tiered or using a pay scale. He's paying the same amount that higher-paid players are being fined.

"I was talking to one of the coaches and they're saying that same thing," Warren said. "I get fined the same that dudes like T.J. [Watts] would get fined. I get fined the same amount of money."

Added Watts: "I think it's extremely egregious the amount of money that a guy like that's being fined. It's ridiculous."

Ultimately, Warren wonders what he's supposed to do differently, especially as an undersized back. Without a clear solution, Warren reluctantly accepts he'll more than likely continue to incur fines in the future.

"I got two fines last year, and I'm still doing it this year," Warren said. "It's kind of hard. I don't know how I'm supposed to hit dudes that's like 350 pounds and 2 feet taller than me. I can't stand my ground and kind of punch 'em. They're going to run me over. So I try to enforce the hitting, again to the point where it's costing me."