PITTSBURGH - When Pittsburgh Steelers players start complaining about NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, it's usually time to find the mute button.
Some of the players are convinced the league and Goodell are out to get them, which is ridiculous.
The commissioners office issues plenty of fines for questionable play. The Steelers only pay attention to the notices that are sent to their locker room.
But this time, they may have a valid point.
Safety Ryan Clark was fined a whopping $40,000 for a helmet-to-helmet hit in last Sunday night's home game against Baltimore.
There's no question that Clark's helmet made contact with Baltimore tight end Ed Dickson.
But was it intentional?
It was a fast-moving play, and there's doubt about that.
Clark was trying to make a tackle, Dickson was running, and the contact happened.
It's impossible to tell what Clark's intent was.
That doubt should mitigate the verdict, and there's no way Clark should be fined that large an amount.
The Steelers say that prior to the NFL's ruling, coach Mike Tomlin was using tape of Clark's hit as a prime example of a tough but legal tackle.
Tomlin backed up Clark's argument.
An appeal has been filed.
If the fine isn't wiped out, it should be greatly reduced.
Sidney Crosby might be back in the Pittsburgh Penguins lineup this week.
Then again, he might not.
Crosby has been practicing regularly, absorbing some minor contact, and looks good.
But doctors have yet to give him the OK to get back to game action.
The Canadian media swooped in last week, apparently buying the silly rumor that Crosby had timed his comeback for 11/11/11, Friday's home game against Dallas.
It's still day-to-day, and the Penguins have basically shut down communication until there's some news.
Crosby will be back as soon it makes sense to let him play. That's up to the medical team.
There's no hidden agenda or no secret.
It could happen this week. It might not.
It's the same as it has been since January - just wait and see.
Nobody likes that kind of vague answer, but that's the reality.
Mehno can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org