NEW YORK – The NFL fined New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady $10,000 for an “aggressive slide” in Sunday’s AFC championship game against the Baltimore Ravens.

The fine was announced on

On a first-and-goal near the end of the second quarter, Brady was forced out of the pocket to his left. He ran for 3 yards but slid before he could be tackled. In the process, he raised his right leg and kicked defender Ed Reed in the thigh.

Brady reportedly apologized to Reed in a text message.

A Patriots spokesman said he has no information on the fine.

A message was left seeking comment from a league spokesman.

The Ravens won 28-13 to advance to the Super Bowl.

THE NFC TEAM ended its first Pro Bowl practice by breaking the huddle and shouting, “Win.” One night earlier, Denver quarterback Peyton Manning asked his fellow all-stars to play the game hard.

And players on both sides pledged to play more determined in a game with a reputation of being taken less seriously than preseason exhibitions or meaningless Week 17 contests.

“We’re professional football players. I think you take a professional attitude to the game,” said Indianapolis quarterback Andrew Luck, one of the two rookie passers in the game with Russell Wilson of Seattle. “It’s an obligation of ours to continue this game.”

The game was almost not scheduled this year after players faced blowback from Commissioner Roger Goodell and fans for not trying last year.

49ERS: Running back Frank Gore was fined $10,500 by the NFL after he wore his socks too low in Sunday’s NFC championship game at Atlanta, an equipment violation. It marked the second time he was fined this season.

Gore said he was so focused on winning the game and getting the 49ers back to a Super Bowl that he didn’t give his uniform all the attention he should have.

But he did his part on the field. Gore ran for touchdowns of 5 and 9 yards in the Niners’ 28-24 comeback victory against the Falcons, putting his team in position to capture the franchise’s sixth title.

San Francisco will be the first team to touch down in New Orleans for the Super Bowl, arriving Sunday night. Baltimore is set to show up Monday.

RAIDERS: Oakland hired Tony Sparano as an assistant head coach who will work with the offensive line.

Sparano comes to the Raiders after one season as offensive coordinator for the New York Jets, who had one of the NFL’s worst offenses. The Jets ranked 30th of 32 teams in overall offense, and averaged 17.5 points per game.

Sparano, who will be entering his 30th year coaching, was the Miami head coach for four years before being fired.

JASON WITTEN of Dallas and Charles Tillman of Chicago are among five finalists for the Byron “Whizzer” White Award presented by the NFL Players’ Association.

The other finalists are Charlie Batch of Pittsburgh, Chad Greenway of Minnesota Vikings and Benjamin Watson of Cleveland.

The award recognizes players who go above and beyond to perform community service in their team cities and hometowns. It is named for a former player and Supreme Court Justice, Byron Raymond “Whizzer” White.

CHARGERS: Mike McCoy, the new head coach, added two more assistants to his staff, bringing Ron Milus in from Denver to coach the secondary and tapping Kent Johnston of Cleveland to serve as strength and conditioning coach.

Milus spent the last two seasons coaching the Broncos’ secondary. The Broncos had one of the NFL’s best defenses last season and led the NFL in fewest yards allowed per pass play (6.4).

Johnston was the strength and conditioning coach for the Browns for the past three seasons.

BROWNS: Rob Chudzinski, the new coach, said it’s “premature” to name Brandon Weeden his starting quarterback for next season.

At a news conference to introduce offensive coordinator Norv Turner, Chudzinski wouldn’t commit to Weeden, who had an uneven rookie season. Turner would not provide an evaluation of Weeden, but did say Weeden possesses “the skill set we’re looking for. He does have a big arm.”

Chudzinski said Turner, recently fired following six seasons as San Diego’s coach, will call plays for Cleveland’s offense. Chudzinski said it was easy to turn that duty over to Turner, “one of the best play-callers in the league for a long time.”

BILL CALLAHAN, the former Oakland coach, denied allegations made by two of his former players that he “sabotaged” the Raiders in their Super Bowl loss to Tampa Bay 10 years ago.

Former Raiders receivers Tim Brown and Jerry Rice said in recent interviews they believe Callahan undermined his own team in the Super Bowl in 2003 because of his close friendship with Tampa Bay Coach Jon Gruden by altering the game plan less than two days before Oakland’s 48-21 loss.