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Total fines issued by the NFL have declined by 32 percent from 2009 to 2012 (668 to 451) and also decreased 4.5 percent between 2011 and 2012 (472 to 451). Fines for illegal hits on quarterbacks have declined 46.4 percent since 2009 (114 to 61).
All of which points to a safer game — but a game that nevertheless, at least on average, puts at least one player in jeopardy in every game in every stadium every Thursday, Sunday and Monday.
"It’s a warrior game," said Broncos defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson, on injured reserve after suffering a dislocated hip on a play in which four players took turns blocking him, both high and low. "You’re going to have collisions. You’re going to have those injuries. You just try to do the best you can with them and play within the rules they set."
AP Sports Writers Genaro Armas in Green Bay, Wisc., Teresa Walker in Nashville, Tenn., Tom Withers in Cleveland, Joe Kay in Cincinnati and Joseph White in Washington contributed to this report.
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