If you believe Mac Jones is a "dirty player," the NFL gave you some validation this weekend.
The league has fined the New England Patriots quarterback twice for a total of $23,976 for two separate incidents in last Saturday's 22-18 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.
The first fine, which cost Jones $13,367, was for a low block on Bengals cornerback Eli Apple in the fourth quarter while Cincinnati linebacker Germaine Pratt returned what appeared to be a fumble for a touchdown. (The fumble was later overturned.)
Apple called out Jones for making a "dirty play" after the game, and several current and former players agreed with Apple's assessment.
Jones' second fine, worth $10,609, was for diving onto a pile late after Rhamondre Stevenson's fourth-quarter fumble near the goal line. Jones was penalized for unnecessary roughness at the time but said later he was just trying to make a play to keep New England in the game.
"I went over there and tried to grab the ball to save the game," Jones told reporters. "At the end of the day, you’ve got to take your chance and try to get the ball, got to compete for the ball because it’s a live ball until somebody holds it up in the air. You got to go get it, and that’s what I tried to do."
New England Patriots
Jones has now been fined three times in the past month, as the NFL charged the QB $10,609 for unsportsmanlike conduct after he threw the ball at Buffalo Bills defensive end A.J. Epenesa in a Week 13 loss.
Jones has faced criticism throughout the week for being a "dirty player" but doesn't seem bothered by the narrative.
"Everybody has an opinion," Jones said Wednesday. "And the biggest thing for me is focusing on being the best teammate I can be, and earning the respect of the people in this building and the people I care about.