The NFL fined Jaguars safety Barry Church $24,309 for his head-to-head hit on New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski during the AFC Championship game this past Sunday at Gillette Stadium.
Church was flagged for unnecessary roughness in the second quarter after colliding Gronkowski while he was running a downfield route. Gronkowski struggled to get to his feet and forced out the game with a head injury after making only one catch for 21 yards. He did not return.
“I just tried to dislodge the ball,” Church said after the game. “He’s a big dude. But I guess they felt it was too high of a hit. It was a tough call, but you have to go with what they call.”
Gronkowski still has not been cleared to practice and his status remains unclear when he may return. The Patriots will play the Philadelphia Eagles in Super LII on Feb. 4 in Minneapolis.