By Daryl Ruiter | 92.3 The Fan

BEREA (92.3 The Fan) – Browns rookie safety Jabrill Peppers was fined $24,362 for an illegal hit on Bengals receiver Josh Malone late in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 30-16 loss at Cincinnati.

He’s not happy about it either.

“I’m a little upset,” Peppers said Thursday. “I didn’t see the replay then, but when I watched it, I thought it was evident that I tried to go to the body. I don’t know where else I could’ve hit him that would have dislodged the ball.

“I just feel like as defenders we’re at a disadvantage ’cause any kind of violent hit they flag. Football is a collision sport. There’s going to be a lot of collisions. It’s not a contact sport. It’s a collision sport.”

Peppers, who plans to appeal, said he received notice of the fine via email from the NFL Wednesday night.

“I don’t have 24 (thousand) to give,” Peppers, who was flagged for hitting a defenseless receiver, said.

“I actually stopped reading the letter once I saw the number of [the fine].”

Peppers felt he hit Malone in the chest but officials ruled that he also hit the receiver’s helmet. The penalty gave Cincinnati a fresh set of downs and a few plays later the Bengals scored to put the game away.

“The question I have is when does a guy stop being called defenseless,” Peppers said.

Rumor Mill – With the calendar sitting on December’s doorstep, the coaching rumor mill is already working overtime and Browns head coach Hue Jackson has already had his name mentioned a couple of times.

On Wednesday, former NFL quarterback Jake Plummer floated Jackson’s name as one he’d endorse to take over at Arizona State. Then there are the persistent rumors about him potentially replacing Marvin Lewis in Cincinnati should the Bengals fire Lewis.

So what does Jackson think of all of this? He was asked Thursday just that.

“First of all, I have a lot of respect for Jake. Jake played quarterback for me,” Jackson said. “I don’t follow all of that, just so you know, but I’m not worried about those things. It is always good to have your name thrown places, but my goal and what I want to accomplish is I want to help turn around this organization. That is what I came here for. I’m not running from this.”

Jackson is just 1-26 since taking over in 2016 and his team, which is the youngest in the NFL and 0-11 this season, continues to struggle to find a way to just win a game. He stressed his commitment to Cleveland even as questions about his future here remain unanswered.

“It doesn’t feel good or look good,” Jackson said. “We are going to win here. I truly believe that. That is what I came here for. We just have to go do the things that we need to do to get this organization headed in the right direction. Hopefully, I am going to be a huge part of that and for a long time. That is what I believe and that is what I feel. That is what I’m doing right now, coaching these Cleveland Browns to get better.”

Backup QB TBD –Jackson will decide Friday before the Browns fly to Los Angeles who his backup quarterback will be.

Cody Kessler has been the backup the last 5 games and he’s had to play in 3 of them where he’s been sacked 6 times and completed 11 of 23 passes for 126 yards with no touchdowns and an interception.

“[Cody] has played more football as a backup quarterback for us and as a quarterback for us,” Jackson said. “His experience and being in the system, those are things that he understands. Obviously, (QB) Kevin (Hogan) has done some good things, too, some really good things this year – both of these guys, but obviously, Cody has played a little bit more. You asked me what was his strength: the fact that he has played in games.”

Injury Report – DNP: WR Sammie Coates (knee/ankle); LIMITED: WR Kenny Britt (knee), RB Isaiah Crowell (shoulder), DB Derron Smith (knee); FULL: WR Ricardo Louis (chest/ribs).

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