The New York Jets are paying for their sideline shenanigans.

The team was fined $100,000 by the NFL yesterday for violating league rules when assistant coach Sal Alosi ordered players to form a sideline wall, then tripped Miami's Nolan Carroll during a punt return earlier this month.

The discipline was in response to the actions of Alosi, the Jets' strength and conditioning coach, and comments made by special teams coach Mike Westhoff, who accused other teams of employing similar sideline wall tactics.

"We will comply with the league's decision," the Jets said in a statement.

Alosi "placed players in a prohibited area on the sideline to impede an opposing team's special teams players and gain a competitive advantage," according to a statement by the league. The NFL called it "a competitive violation as well as a dangerous tactic."

Five inactive players were ordered by Alosi to stand together nearly shoulder-to-shoulder on the sideline in New York's 10-6 loss to Miami on Dec. 12. Tight end Jeff Cumberland, one of the inactive players, said Alosi had told them to do that all season.

Alosi was first suspended without pay for the remainder of the season and fined $25,000 by the Jets for tripping Carroll, before being suspended indefinitely by the team after acknowledging he ordered the players to form the wall.

Alosi apologized to Carroll and Dolphins coach Tony Sparano that night.

During a news conference the next day, a tearful Alosi took full responsibility for what he did.

"I let everybody down yesterday with my actions," he said. "My actions were inexcusable and irresponsible."

The NFL recently met with the team to investigate the incident and spoke with Westhoff about his comments, when he said other teams employ sideline walls, including the New England Patriots.

"I'm not accusing the Patriots of doing something wrong," Westhoff said. "Maybe they're doing something smart. That's up to you. Watch the tape, you tell me."

In its statement yesterday, the NFL said the fine was imposed to "emphasize that clubs are accountable for the actions of their employees and have the obligation to ensure that all members of their organization comply with league rules." It also stated that the league policies require teams to report "actual or suspected violations of competitive rules" by other teams to the NFL office only, and not to publicly criticize them.

Johnson has since apologized to Patriots owner Robert Kraft, as well as Dolphins owner Stephen Ross.


* After overcoming so many injuries and other personal adversity to play every week of his storied 20-year career, Brett Favre has been too beat up to play in two of the last three games. He got knocked out of the other one.

The Vikings want Brett Favre to give it one more try and start Sunday at Detroit, but by NFL concussion rules he first must be cleared by the team's medical staff - and time is running out.

Interim coach Leslie Frazier said yesterday that Favre hadn't passed the first stage of the standard post-concussion testing. There's also a conditioning component to receiving clearance to return, if Favre can prove he's symptom-free and functioning normally again.

* The NFL has reduced the fine levied on Steelers linebacker James Harrison for his Oct. 17 hit on Browns wide receiver Mohamed Massaquoi from $75,000 to $50,000.

The league's appeals officer, Ted Cottrell, reduced the fine because he said Harrison understands the player safety rules and has made an effort to adjust his technique to play within those rules.

* The San Diego Chargers have placed Pro Bowl tight end Antonio Gates on injured reserve and signed fullback Billy Latsko.

* Jaguars quarterback David Garrard has undergone surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right middle finger.

* The Giants have signed cornerback Brian Witherspoon and placed punt returner Will Blackmon on injured reserve.

* The New Orleans Saints have placed kick returner Courtney Roby on injured reserve, officially ending his season 3 weeks after suffering a concussion during a game against the St. Louis Rams.