ENGLEWOOD -- Denver Broncos coach Mike Shanahan defended safety John Lynch on Monday, arguing that a helmet-to-helmet penalty in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s game against Kansas City was unjustified. He even showed the media a freeze frame of the replay, which showed Lynch hit Chiefs receiver Eddie Kennison in the facemask with his left shoulder, not his helmet. Shanahan said he was concerned that Lynch would face a fine for the hit, which he did not think was illegal. Lynch has been fined four times since 2001 for illegal hits with his helmet. The NFL fined him $75,000 for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Colts tight end Dallas Clark in a regular-season game on Jan. 2 last season. “When I first looked at it I thought it was helmet-to-helmet, then all of a sudden John came up to me and said ‘Coach, I’m telling you, I had my shoulder in there,’” Shanahan said. “You can see on the end-zone camera, all the way from ground view, you can take an angle looking at the hit and you can see John’s helmet on the side and his shoulder going into the helmet.” A NFL spokesman said the play is being reviewed. Shanahan didn’t deny that he was upset by the call but he didn’t blame Denver’s 31-27 loss on the penalty. The penalty came at the end of a second down and 7 at the Broncos’ 9-yard line, and it gave Kansas City first and goal at the 4-yard line. Chiefs running back Larry Johnson scored a touchdown on the next play to give Kansas City a 31-27 lead. “This is not to talk about a play of the game,” Shanahan said. “This is to talk about the fine for John.” CONTACT THE WRITER: 476-4891 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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