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: Jun 26, 2009
Posted on: November 8, 2011 6:58 pm

Lewis, Harrison, Clark could face fines

It's one thing to launch yourself like a battering ram at another player. That deserves a fine. But if you lower your shoulder and the position of the player who is being tackled changes and you make head contact, then don't fine for that. I know they are trying to prevent injuries (see the stupid kickoff rule) but you cant legislate the hitting out of the game.

Since: Nov 9, 2006
Posted on: November 8, 2011 6:55 pm

Lewis, Harrison, Clark could face fines

Its getting ridiculous with the fines and penalties for this crap. 

Roger Goodel is ruining the NFL.  

Since: Oct 29, 2007
Posted on: November 8, 2011 6:32 pm

Lewis, Harrison, Clark could face fines

I'll have to disagree that players are taught to lead with the head.  Players are taught to run through the body and wrap up.  If like Clark, you always lead with your head and simply launch yourself into a ball carrier and aim high at his head and shoulders you deserve to be fined and suspended if necessary.  Yesterday some of the NFL's best tacklers were on display in Briggs and Urlacher.  When did they launch (lead with their head without extension of the arms) into a ball carrier?  They didn't.  It seemed to work out just fine. 

If you're going to launch you're body as if you're a battering ram and you happen to hit a guy square in the helmet you deserve a fine and a big one at that.  While everyone, myself included, loves a big hit, I don't want to see key players injured and reduce the overall quality of the games because Ryan Clark or Brandon Merriweather can't tackle properly.  Just being a safety means you are going to be able to light guys up by virtue of surprise and the speed involved.  We need to get rid of the Tatum-like headhunting and get back to quality, fundamental football.  I'm sure a couple of meatheads will respond with the usual drivel such as "Let's just put 'em in skirts."  Those types of fans should stick to MMA or audition for the next Geico commercial.  The sheer skill and athletic ability of these guys is enough entertainment for 99% of the fans.  I don't need to see star players get carted off the field with a concussion or worse.  It's a sad mentality because none of those hits in the Sunday Night game made it any more exciting.  Watching a nice comeback by the Steelers and some clutch throws by Flacco on the game winning drive is what most true fans who watched the game will remember.

Since: Nov 8, 2011
Posted on: November 8, 2011 6:22 pm

Lewis, Harrison, Clark could face fines

Just signed up so I could post a comment.  Does anyone on your website monitor the comments made?  I find the comments on this article to be highly offensive.  One comment is clearly racist and the comment about Ray Lewis being banned from the NFL is ridiculous.  Had to get that off my chest. 
Again, Steeler fan who posted about Ray clearly proves how ignorant he/she is 

Since: Sep 12, 2011
Posted on: November 8, 2011 6:08 pm

Lewis, Harrison, Clark could face fines

Watching the game both teams got some good physical plays, football is a contact sports. All mentioned should get the appropriate penalties now that player safety is a bench mark of Goodell. But in the past personally it is what this rivalry is all about and playing physical is always there when they play each other.

Since: Jul 3, 2010
Posted on: November 8, 2011 5:57 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Feb 19, 2008
Posted on: November 8, 2011 5:36 pm

Lewis, Harrison, Clark could face fines

The real story here should not be about fines, it should be about the fact that these types of plays are not being called in a consistent manner by the refs. Both the Lewis hit and the Clark hit occurred at crucial points in the game, and the fact that the refs didn't call them consistently impacted the outcome of the game. For example, the penalty on Clark kept a drive alive that resulted in a Ravens FG right before halftime. Meanwhile, the non-call on Lewis (which, I think, was a far more egregious helmet-to-helmet hit) halted a Steelers drive inside the 10 yard line that, if the hit was penalized could very easily have resulted in a TD instead of a FG. If those two plays are called consistently (either both are flagged or both are not flagged), there could very well have been a different result at the end of the game. That's a far more important story than whether two rich dudes are getting fined a few thousand bucks.

Since: Jan 21, 2007
Posted on: November 8, 2011 5:19 pm

Lewis, Harrison, Clark could face fines

Speaking of fines, the whole Chargers offense should get fine for not trying to tackle Charlie Peprah on his way to end zone after his interception of Philip Rivers.

Since: Dec 11, 2008
Posted on: November 8, 2011 5:13 pm

Lewis, Harrison, Clark could face fines

You are right on all points!  Pass interfernce should have been on the offense for that last play!  All the calls seem to have gone the Baltimore Colts way!  Was that a knife in Lewis's hand when he went helmet to helmet?

Since: Apr 27, 2008
Posted on: November 8, 2011 5:12 pm

Lewis, Harrison, Clark could face fines

No one from that game should be suspended or excessively fined.  Let's relax on the biased overreaction from both sides.  Lewis should have been penalized on the Ward hit, clearly.  That was a miss by the refs.  He likely should get a fine.  Clark was penalized on a borderline call but will likely get fined as well.  Harrison's hit should be a non-issue.  Unfortunately, Goodell seems to rely way too much on what has happened in the past rather than the specific situation he is reviewing.  I think when we talk about larger fines or suspensions, you really have to look at intentional or flagrant acts. 

Neither Lewis or Clark really looked to be aiming at the head at all, rather just leading with their heads on a tackle.  While many of us might like that behavior to change, nearly every single defender leads with their head on tackles and they have largely been taught to do that since early in their football careers.  There's a difference between hitting the offensive player in the chest, shoulder, etc. or the head, though.  The guidelines, as they've been communicated now, speak to "launching" at the player and/or aiming high to hit the head.  Clark and Lewis both seemed to just be trying to tackle, period, and the receivers were either falling to the ground or otherwise moving as Clark and Lewis came in for their hits.  There's only so much a defender can do to change their direction when they are running full speed to make a play.

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