Blog Entry

Lewis, Harrison, Clark could face fines

Posted on: November 8, 2011 4:14 pm
Edited on: November 8, 2011 4:20 pm
Several players could be lighter in the wallet following the Sunday night game. (Getty Images)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

NBC color analyst Cris Collinsworth must've mentioned it a dozen times Sunday night: the Ravens-Steelers rivalry transcends the NFL's recent emphasis on player safety. It was old-school football, where people actually hit each other. And if that resulted in the league handing down fines then so be it.

Well, it sounds like that's exactly what will happen. Ray Lewis, Ryan Clark and James Harrison can all expect to be out some money after hits the NFL will almost certainly deem illegal, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Monday.

Lewis, the Ravens' ageless linebacker, had arguably the most egregious hit, a head shot to Pittsburgh wide receiver Hines Ward that sent him to the bench with "concussion-like symptoms." Lewis wasn't flagged on the play.

Clark's open-field collision with tight end Ed Dickson was penalized at the time (unnecessary roughness -- hit on a defenseless receiver), and this could be his second fine for a personal-foul penalty in as many weeks. Against New England in Week 8, Clark incurred what turned out to be a $15,000 penalty for a late hit on Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski.

(Three years ago, Clark did this to Wes Welker. He was flagged on the play, but the NFL later admitted that it was a legal hit and he wasn't fined. Now look at us, fining guys for low blocks.)

The NFL also has an issue with Harrison's third-quarter helmet-to-helmet hit on running back Ray Rice, though replays show Harrison falling on Rice at the end of a play. At the time, it seemed innocuous -- and legal -- but the league's history of arbitrary punishments suggests that everything's fineable.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh, who received a Gatorade bath for the Week 9 win and later cut his chin celebrating with general manager Ozzie Newsome, didn't "want to get into that conversation right now" when asked about the hits leveled by Clark and Lewis.

"I mean, it's tough. There's no doubt about it, it's tough. It's fast and it's physical and all that, but the rules are in place for a reason, and that's the way it works," he said, according to the Baltimore Sun.

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Since: Sep 18, 2007
Posted on: November 8, 2011 8:28 pm

Lewis, Harrison, Clark could face fines

the problem is they didnt flag Lewis.  That would have given the steelers a 1st and goal.  Instead they had to kick a FG.  The clark hit wasnt nearly as bad and it was on 3rd and kept their drive alive.   I know these are the rules now and you have to go with it.  The problem I have is the inconsistency.  Lewiss hit was easily the most blatant of the game, not flagged.  The penalty on clark gave them points and the non call on lewis took them away.  Changing the outcome.  BS

Since: Jul 29, 2011
Posted on: November 8, 2011 8:16 pm

Lewis, Harrison, Clark could face fines

These two teams are still playing old school defense!  The problem is  - - - - is that the old style rules no longer apply!  I think that fines will not stop the haed shots but maybe suspensions will.  Their are too many players ( and former players) that had concussions and some with multiple concussions.  That has to stop!  It doesn't matter what type of new helmet comes on the market - it will not help a vicious head blow.  look at the Hockey players who have ended up dead (suicide) in the last few years.  Head Trauma is something that we need to continue to investigate and help those with head injuries.  Depression and dementia are part of the long term affects.

Since: Aug 21, 2006
Posted on: November 8, 2011 8:09 pm

Lewis, Harrison, Clark could face fines

I didn't notice an illegal Harrison hit. I definitely knew Clark and Lewis would be fined, my problem is they didn't call the penalty on Lewis. I respect that there is a reason the Steelers are under the microscope, I am not a total homer, but it would be nice to get a call to help us out in a game once in a while. Fine lewis all you want, missing the call on the field is what bothers me. There was a head to head hit against Miller in that game too that was never called.

Since: Oct 29, 2007
Posted on: November 8, 2011 7:55 pm

Lewis, Harrison, Clark could face fines


You're correct on just about everything you said.  However, I am not a fan of either the Ravens or the Steelers, just a fan of good football.  I did, however, watch the previous game against the Patriots where Clark clearly aimed directly at the head of Gronkowski who was already a step or two out of bounds.  While I agree that those split second, bone jarring hits are inevitable, the Clark hit on Gronkowski, while not even that violent of a hit, was clearly directed at the man's head considering he was vertical and is 6 inches taller than Clark.  You can't possibly hit a man in the helmet who is 6 inches taller than you unless you're aiming for his helmet.  This showed me that Clark is indeed a headhunter.   Now a week later, another helmet to helmet collision involving Clark?  He deserves to be under a microscope.  Past hits on Welker and McGahee, while not fineable because he led with the shoulder (and the helmet is going to follow suit) were still of a reckless nature.  Seriously, when you're arms are in a trail position to your body, you are clearly using the body as a projectile instead of attempting to drive through and tackle.  It is precisely this type of reckless technique that needs to be eliminated.     

Like I said, I love the big hits as much as anyone, and injuries are inevitable in such a violent sport, but I don't want to see the Calvin Johnsons and Adrian Petersons getting carted off the field because someone is a loose cannon out there.  Those guys are the type of players who most people pay to see, not the Ryan Clarks or Brandon Merriweathers.  I could be wrong, but as fierce of a hitter as Polamalu is, he is never involved in these discussions.  Why is that?  Maybe because he realizes he doesn't need to risk injuring himself and others with reckless hits.

Since: Dec 7, 2006
Posted on: November 8, 2011 7:39 pm

Lewis, Harrison, Clark could face fines

Bottom line is the Steelers are under a microscope.  The refs were horrible in the first half.  Lewis wasnt called for his hit just like Ngata or whoever it was wasnt called for punching Ben in the face last year on Sun/Mon night when his nose was on the side of his face.  Harrison and Clark are targets. 

Since: Jan 2, 2008
Posted on: November 8, 2011 7:37 pm

Lewis, Harrison, Clark could face fines

I did not mind the hits it is football not tennis, but the ruling of at least 3 catches or non-catches just proves that the new requirements for a pass to be a catch is just plain wrong.  Hines Ward caught that ball.  He was done by contact and then the ball comes out.  This bologna that you have to maintain possesion until the next play occurs is insane.  Bolden had a catch later that was overturned.  He caught the ball it never comes out of his hands yet they call it incomplete.  Just stupid.  Jerry Rice would have about 100 less catches in todays NFL.  Later in the game I think it was a Raven caught the ball and the ball moves while touching the ground and they call it a catch.  It is a flip of a coin whether a catch is a catch if the player goes to the ground anymore.  It doesn't matter if they never lose control of the ball.  You better not toss the ball after the catch because it might not be a catch due to continuation.  You sure as heck better not spike the ball, continuation.  How many steps must be taken until a catch no longer needs continuation?  30?  The NFL needs to go back to the 2 feet being in bounds to be a catch rule.  If you catch the ball and go to the ground it is a catch.

Since: Oct 12, 2006
Posted on: November 8, 2011 7:21 pm

Lewis, Harrison, Clark could face fines

Boo hoo.  Sucks to lose again.  Wipe away the tears clown.  Your squad got swept by the better team.  Both teams hit hard and both teams have some players that get in cheap shots.  It's football, and it's a rivalry game.  Get over it.  Players banned for life?  Fine the refs?  Are you serious?  Your defense let you down on the last drive and you lost.  Simple as that.  Appreciate a good game when you see it, even if your team didn't win.  As a Ravens fan, I've had to endure way too many self-implosion losses to the Steelers in years past, but I'm not going to blame refs for it.  Sometimes your team just loses.  It's a long season, so quit the crying.

Since: Nov 21, 2006
Posted on: November 8, 2011 7:06 pm

Lewis, Harrison, Clark could face fines

Gagepark88, I have to respectfully disagree with your statement.  In many cases, some of these hits are split second reactions that cannot be controlled.  As a tackler, you're taught to see what you are tackling and run through the defender, however, you cannot determine, whether or not the offensive player is going to change his pad level, or put his head down, in that slit second, which often times creates a head to head collision.  I'm all for protecting players, but the NFL has issued to their referees, that when in doubt, throw the flag, which seems to result in any hard looking hits gets a flag.  What is a safety or linebacker suppose to do, if a WR catches a ball and you're not there in time to break up the pass or intercept the ball?  They are taught to separate the WR from the ball with a hard hit, but if you can't do that what are you suppose to do?  While I do admit the game was very entertaining, I can't help but wonder was the outcome affected by the personal foul call on Clark right before haltime that kept a drive alive and ended up with a FG, and the Steelers lost by three points?  Do we have consistency, where Ray Lewis does the exact same thing as Clark, but isn't flagged?

Since: Nov 8, 2011
Posted on: November 8, 2011 7:06 pm

Lewis, Harrison, Clark could face fines

Correct me if I'm wrong but didn't the Lewis hit result in an incomplete pass and you are correct and I agree that BOTH plays had an impact on the game and the refs definitely need to make these types of calls more consistently.

Since: Jan 24, 2008
Posted on: November 8, 2011 7:00 pm

Lewis, Harrison, Clark could face fines

Since you have singled out Ryan Clark in your post for always leading with his head, I have to assume that all you watch is Sportscenter.  While Ryan Clark does have a history of hitting with the crown of his helmet, he doesnt always do it.  He is a BIG hitter and if he was on any other team than the Steelers, I dont believe that he gets fined as often. 

The hit by Ray Lewis was a much more vicious and deliberate hit, IMO, than the one that Clark put on the Ravens TE.  I believe that Lewis' hit could have injured Hines Ward and did put him out of the game.  While Clark's hit was a good football play, trying to dislodge the ball from a receiver.  I watched both plays over and over on my DVR and the play Clark made, he led with his shoulder and as he slid up there was contact with the helmets.  While the hit from Lewis on Ward, he led with his head and made contact with the helmet first and foremost.  Clark's initial contact was with the shoulder. 

The Steelers as well as the Ravens have a reputation for dirty hits, but in my opinion, only about 10% or less between the two teams are intentional or dirty.  I think the NFL is trying to protect their players TOO much and have almost taken the physicallity out of football.

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