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Talk about one’s reputation preceding him – that would be Denver Broncos center Tom Nalen.

The 13-year veteran was fined $25,000 and Chargers defensive end Igor Olshansky only $10,000, although Olshansky was the one penalized and kicked out of the game for taking two swings at Nalen for Nalen’s cheap shot at his knees at the end of a game the Chargers won Sunday 35-27.

Almost always the guy who retaliates from a cheap shot is the one who gets caught and sometimes it costs his team the game. The 15-yard penalty placed the ball within a “Hail Mary!” pass of the Broncos having a chance to tie the game as time expired.

But this was a rare time when fans watching the game and NFL officials recognized Nalen was the bad guy. He took his cheap shot while quarterback Jake Plummer spiked the ball and none of the other Broncos engaged a Chargers defender.

ProFootballtalk.com, one of the best Internet sites for behind-the-scenes comments on the NFL, considered Nalen’s cheap shot on par with Tennessee Titans defensive lineman Albert Haynsworth stopping on Dallas Cowboys center Andre Gurode. This was posted after the fines were announced.

NFL NAILS NALEN
After reviewing video of Broncos center Tom Nalen diving at the knees of Chargers defensive end Igor Olshansky on Sunday, one league source opined that Nalen should be fined twice the amount that Olshansky ultimately is fined for slapping Nalen upside the head in retaliation.

The NFL took it even farther than 200 percent

Chargers coach Marty Schottenheimer gave Olshansky an earful, and Olshansky apologized to his teammates after the game for losing his temper.

But Schottenheimer, who in no way excused Olshansky’s action, later admitted, “That had been brewing for some time.”

Round Two is Dec. 10 when the Broncos play the Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium.

– TOM SHANAHAN

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