OWINGS MILLS – Baltimore Ravens inside linebacker Jameel McClain has appealed his $40,000 fine from

"Rules are rules," McClain said Wednesday at the Ravens' training complex. "We will appeal it and see where it goes from there, but that's basically where I stand with the situation." McClain appeared to make contact with his forearm and shoulder pads. He was told by the league that he had violated Rule 12, Section 2, Article G, which governs hits on defenseless receivers. The hefty fine represents 11.75 percent of McClain's $470,000 salary and is more than his $26,647 weekly game check.

"He's working for free for a couple of weeks," nose guard Kelly Gregg said. "I saw him last night at Food Lion. I thought he was shopping, but he was working trying to pay that fine." An undrafted free agent from Syracuse who became a starter at inside linebacker this season, McClain emphasized that he wasn't trying to hurt anyone and expressed concern about safety. "You know, you never want any type of play like that to happen in football in general because those are horrible types of plays," McClain said. "Basically what it is, it's a man going to try to make a play. I was within the strike zone. I was going the way that I was taught to proceed in the game throughout my whole life. And if I let off on that play and he catches the ball and possibly streaks down the field for 50 yards, it's a different story we're talking about. "I can't really say, at the wrong place at the wrong time because if I wasn't there, something different probably would have happened. I just saw a man still moving and he still had a way to get to the ball and I was just trying to get between him and the ball. And then basically, him falling down, it ended up the way it ended up."

McClain said he has no plans to change his style of play. "I don't know if it changes the way I play," McClain said. "You've got to play this game physical, you've got to play this game fast. I'm not out there trying to hurt nobody. I don't think nobody on this team or in this league is really out there trying to hurt anybody. But you still have to play this game and you still have to go about it in a way where you can try to make a play, and if you step off of that, you might as well cut yourself, or take yourself off the roster."

Ravens coach John Harbaugh defended McClain on Tuesday night during his weekly radio program. "I was shocked," Harbaugh said. "He's a first-time offender. Jameel, there was nothing he can do. I think the league understands that. I can't imagine why they fined him so much. "Jameel tried to go low. He did everything humanly possible to hit the tight end low. You fine a guy $40,000 for trying to apply the rule. He tried to do something that's against the rule of physics. I say you're taking someone's money unfairly."

Meanwhile, Pro Bowl defensive tackle Haloti Ngata declined an interview request about his $15,000 fine for breaking Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's nose. He was fined for striking the head of a defenseless quarterback, according to the league. "Ben needs to wear a lineman facemask and then he won't get hit in the nose like that," Gregg said. "There was no ill will on both those plays. Maybe Ben's a little better looking now with his nose." HEAP TAKING IT DAY BY DAY: Tight end Todd Heap said he's still in pain after pulling his right hamstring against the Steelers while running a fly route.

A magnetic resonance imaging exam revealed the pull, but it's unclear how long he'll be sidelined. "It's felt better," Heap said. "Not feeling too good right now." Heap isn't ruling himself out for Monday night's game against the Houston Texans. This is the second major hamstring injury of Heap's career, also suffering one three years ago. "I'm going to be smart," Heap said. "If anything, over the last 10 years, I've learned a few lessons. [In 2007] I wasn't doing what was best for me and for the team in trying to get out there and trying to do everything I could to be on the field.

"So, there's a fine line you have to walk there, and I'm trying to be a little bit smart about how I go about it because of the situation we're in as well. Where we're at as a team, record-wise and being in the hunt, I want to make sure that I do what's right for me and for the team." Harbaugh said there's an outside chance Heap could be ready for Monday night and hasn't ruled him out.

"We're taking it day to day right now," Heap said. "We'll see. It's gotten better every day. We'll see how it is come game-time." Heap got hurt running in cold weather on the first play from scrimmage.

"It actually went early in the route," Heap said. "The ball went in the air. I tried to go harder after it and that's when it popped." Harbaugh said that Heap will play again this season and won't be placed on injured reserve. "It could have been worse," Heap said. "Obviously, you never know with a hamstring injury what the time frame is. It's a day to day thing right now and hopefully it's sooner than later, but my goal right now is to get out there as quickly as possible. We've got this stretch run we're trying to make. All these games are important for us. My main focus is to get on the field as soon as I can." Rookie tight ends Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta will take over for Heap until he returns. "It's a tough injury because you don't know how it's going to respond all the time and how long it's going to take and you don't even know exactly how bad the injury is. I've had the MRI, and you can see it on there, but it doesn't always tell the whole story." MCCLAIN READY TO RETURN: Pro Bowl fullback Le'Ron McClain said that his sprained ankle has improved significantly and he expects to play Monday night after missing the first game of his career against the Steelers. "I'm good, real good," McClain said. "I went out and had a real good practice with no pain in my ankle."

McClain was frustrated that he didn't get to play against Pittsburgh. "I was ready," he said. "Coach made a decision to put me down. I always want to play. I wanted to try to get that win and go against those great ‘backers and get the running game going. I'm looking forward to Monday night." McClain was wearing a red jersey, signifying he's off-limits to contact. "It's part of my uniform," McClain said with a laugh.

MILLER SIGNED BY LIONS: The Detroit Lions signed undrafted rookie cornerback Prince Miller off of the Ravens' practice squad, replacing injured cornerback Alphonso Smith on the roster. Miller is a speedy punt returner who made the Ravens' roster after going undrafted out of the University of Georgia. Miller has spent the majority of the season on the Ravens' practice squad. He was briefly with the New England Patriots' practice squad before rejoining the Ravens. The Ravens replaced Miller by signing former Texas A&M cornerback Danny Gorrer to the practice squad for the second time this season. He takes over the final spot on the practice squad, vacated when Prince Miller signed with the Detroit Lions.

Gorrer was signed by the New Orleans Saints last season after going undrafted and has also had a stint with the St. Louis Rams. The 6-foot, 185-pounder was on the Saints' practice squad last year before being signed by the Rams. He recorded one tackle against the Houston Texans and started the following week against the Arizona Cardinals and recorded four tackles and a pass deflection, nearly picking off a Kurt Warner pass. He was cut by the Saints on Aug. 24 after being claimed in June off waivers from the Rams.

STEELERS ACCUSE CHESTER OF CHEAP SHOT: The Steelers have accused Ravens offensive guard Chris Chester of going after outside linebacker James Harrison on an extra point. Chester was flagged for a false start, firing off the ball and hitting Harrison. Harrison wasn't injured on the play. Usually, offensive linemen stay in on extra points. "Of course it was deliberate," Harrison told reporters. "There's no way that happens on an extra point because [offensive linemen] don't shoot out. It's obvious it was blatant. It was on purpose. "Yeah it's cheap, but when it comes down to it, it's only a 5-yard penalty, they move back to the 7 and re-kick. It's not going to hurt them." Added inside linebacker James Farrior: "It was a dirty play."

Chester, playing his first game since suffering a lower leg infection weeks ago, doesn't have a reputation for being a dirty player. "I think it was a designed play," said defensive end Brett Keisel, who is on the extra-point defense. "He just took off and kept driving him. I do think it was intentional. "It ticked us all off," Keisel said. "First you get scored on, but, when you do something like that deliberately, we just kept fighting through and we won the game. We had the last laugh." PRO BOWL BALLOTING: Middle linebacker Ray Lewis, safety Ed Reed, Ngata and Le'Ron McClain are leading the Pro Bowl fan balloting so far. Lewis has 245,381 votes, ranking ahead of Ngata's 196,528. Meanwhile, tight end Todd Heap, offensive tackle Michael Oher and linebacker Terrell Suggs rank second at their respective positions with wide receiver Anquan Boldin, center Matt Birk, offensive guard Ben Grubbs and strong safety Dawan Landry ranking fourth. Special-teams contributor Prescott Burgess is third. Punter Sam Koch is fifth and kicker Billy Cundiff is seventh.

QUICK HITS: Reacting to a critical question about defensive line coach Clarence Brooks and rookie nose guard Terrence Cody during his radio show, Harbaugh replied: "I'm not even going there with this guy." Then, Harbaugh defended Brooks and the team. "I'm proud of this football team,"

Harbaugh said. "I'm proud of our defense. I'm proud of our offense. We will fight our tails off to be the best team we can every single week. If that's not enough for you then go find another team to cheer for. If you're not proud of this team then you don't know football." Harbaugh's remarks have drawn heavy criticism from fans.

… Harbaugh said he didn't see Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward before kickoff after Ward had complained about the Ravens coaching giving him a "fake handshake" prior to the first game in Pittsburgh. "As far as I know, he never came close to midfield," Harbaugh said Tuesday.. "I was looking for an opportunity to redeem that handshake. Maybe his concern was just disingenuous after all."

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