Bears free safety Chris Conte was fined $21,000 this week for his hit on Panthers receiver Brandon LaFell in Sunday's 23-22 victory. Conte was penalized for hitting a defenseless player in the head.
"I didn't think it was real at first," Conte said Friday after practice at Halas Hall. "I thought it was a prank and realized it wasn't a prank very quickly.
"It hurts a lot. That's a big chunk of the money that I make. I think it's kind of unfair to fine a guy who is still in his rookie contract that much money. Hopefully, they'll look at it and at least I'll get it reduced."
Conte said his agent handled the appeal process.
"We'll just see what happens and hopefully it gets reduced, because $21,000 is a lot of money," Conte said. "I'm playing free [this week]. I love football, so I don't mind it. But I'd like to get paid."
Replays showed that Conte's shoulder made contact with LaFell's head while he fell to the ground. It also didn't appear to be intentional.
"Obviously, there was contact with his head, but I don't think it was a intentional or I wasn't leading with my head or anything," Conte said. "We'll see what happens. I don't exactly know how the whole process works. I've never been fined before."
Panthers coach Ron Rivera said Friday that LaFell (concussion) is doubtful for Sunday's game against the Washington Redskins. But he did return against the Bears after taking the hit from Conte.