Oakland defensive tackle Warren Sapp was fined $75,000 yesterday by the NFL for his confrontation with game officials that led to his ejection last week.

Sapp avoided a suspension, however.

The NFL said Sapp was punished for "physical and verbal actions toward game officials that drew an unprecedented three unsportsmanlike conduct penalties and ejection from last Sunday's game."

Former Eagles defensive end Derrick Burgess was also fined $25,000 for verbally abusing an official during the same sequence.

The punishments were announced after the Raiders' media availability yesterday, so neither player nor coach Lane Kiffin was available to comment. Both Sapp and Kiffin said they were not worried about a possible suspension.

The altercation came late in the first half of last Sunday's 49-11 loss at Jacksonville, when the Raiders were called for four unsportsmanlike conduct penalties in one sequence.

Noteworthy

* For the fourth consecutive month, the team with the perfect record is featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated. The latest is a doctored picture of New England coach Bill Belichick and his well-known serious look dressed in a red-and-white Santa Claus outfit.

* Eight-time Pro Bowl receiver Marvin Harrison (Roman Catholic) returned to practice with Indianapolis after missing 10 games. Harrison might be available for limited work against Tennessee on Sunday night.

* Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger didn't practice with the starting offense for the second day in a row, a sign he is unlikely to play in the team's final regular-season game Sunday in Baltimore with Pittsburgh (10-5) already assured of playing a home playoff game. *