SANTA CLARA -- Ahmad Brooks still insists his hit on Saints quarterback Drew Brees was "clean," and the 49ers outside linebacker plans to state his case further next Tuesday when he appeals the NFL's $15,750 fine.
"Hopefully they'll hear me out, because I didn't intentionally mean to knock him out like that, but that's part of the game," Brooks said Thursday. "I didn't hit him in the head.
"You could argue maybe I got him in the neck a little bit, but it was really in the chest area, the collar bone."
Officials flagged Brooks for a personal foul, negating his fumble-forcing sack with three minutes remaining in an eventual 23-20 loss. Dean Blandino, the NFL's vice president of officiating, said Tuesday that Brooks' hit was illegal because he made contact with Brees' neck.
Added Brooks: "I didn't hit him with my helmet. It was my arm, I clothes-lined him in his collar bone. Just by him falling and being 5-(foot)-11, 6-foot, it made it look like I hit him in the neck."
Brooks' anger over the play has subsided at least in the aspect the play has thrust him into the national spotlight.
"I'm not upset. Obviously it's given me a lot of publicity," Brooks said half-jokingly. "It ain't worth 16-grand. But this is the most publicity I've ever had off of one play."
Brooks is surprised by the support he's received, including that by former NFL linebackers and current ESPN analysts Ray Lewis and Tedy Bruschi. During a 15-minute phone call Wednesday, Brooks declined Bruschi's offer of a "donation," with Brooks citing how it wasn't necessary because "I'm a grown man." Nor was Brooks planning on accepting Lewis' vow to pay half the fine.
Brooks' rationale for not accepting the ex-linebackers gratuity: "Why should I? I'm alright, man. I'm OK."
Brooks said he isn't planning on changing his pass-rushing style come Monday night, when the Virginia native heads that way to face the Washington Redskins, the team his father, Perry, played defensive tackle for from 1977-84.
"The game is being watered down right now," Brooks said. "Guys like my father that played this game, guys that even played running back and have been punished by defensive players, they'd want to argue about this matter right now.
"It's something I think needs to be changed, and I don't think it's going to be changed anytime soon."