Blog Entry

Tomlin said to be furious about NFL fine on Clark

Posted on: November 9, 2011 10:01 pm
Clark's collision with Dickson resulted in a $40,000 fine. (Getty Images)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

On Tuesday there were reports that Ryan Clark and Ray Lewis could expect fines for their play in Sunday night's Ravens-Steelers game. Wednesday it became a reality; Clark was docked $40,000 and Lewis $20,000.

And not long after the fines were announced, Clark spoke frankly on the matter.

"Somebody else needs to step in ... not that I respected Roger [Goodell] before this ... but this is ridiculous," he said. "I'm not going to sit across from [the Commissioner] unless they handcuff me. which is probably the next step anyway."

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Ed Bouchette writes that Steelers head coach "was said to be furious when he learned about the fine from the league office today."

In a statement released by the team, Tomlin called the fine excessive.

"I am a proponent of player safety and the league's pursuit of improvement in this area," he said. "I, like the vast majority of people in this industry, witness daily the steep price that these young men pay to play this game on so many levels. Ryan has my full support if he chooses to appeal this in any way."

Judge for yourself:

Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger also supports Clark and thinks that NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith should get involved.

"It's unfortunate," he said."You never want to see one of your guys get hit, especially for that much money. I went back and watched it. If you slow down and watch it, it's about as picture-perfect of a tackle you can make. His head was down right across the chest and the back of his helmet maybe grazed the wide receivers bottom of the face mask. Someone needs to stand up and do something -- like De Smith. He is our player guy, stand up and do something for our players."

Reviewing Week 9

Fair point. Smith hasn't been seen since the lockout ended. Maybe that's why, when the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's Mark Kaboly asked James Harrison Wednesday if De Smith should get involved his response was "Who's that?"

(We're pretty sure that was Harrison being sarcastic.)

But it's not just those in the Steelers organization that think Clark's punishment was exorbitant. Sports Illustrated's Peter King sent the following tweets Wednesday:

"Watched replay of Clark's hit on Dickson 20/25 times. Clark lowers head, aims for chest w/right shoulder. Clips Dickson facemask w/helmet. … This is not the kind of hit to generate a 40k fine. Clark DID hit helmet--but he clearly was aiming lower. Some fine? OK. 40? No way. … 'Fine Clark till he stops.; Stops what? Lowering his head and aiming for a guy's sternum? Bury a guy when he AIMS for head. Clark didn't."

As our colleague Will Brinson wrote earlier, the reason Clark is now out $40,000 wasn't the result of some blindfolded dart-throwing exercise down at league headquarters. It's because the NFL's fine schedule plainly states that the second offense for "Impermissible Use of the Helmet" will run you … $40,000.

The players are well aware of this. They're just apoplectic at the amount. Well, that and the arbitrary nature with with Goodell metes out punishments. Like, say, this.

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Since: Sep 16, 2010
Posted on: November 10, 2011 6:02 pm

Tomlin said to be furious about NFL fine on Clark

Unfortunately it is a penalty and a fine in today's game...Bring back the XFL.  Bring me a league where I can enjoying watching the big hit because that's what I "lived for" during my college football playing days.  Officiating and Goodell's Rules are both giving the game a bad name.

Since: Jul 27, 2010
Posted on: November 10, 2011 5:55 pm

Tomlin said to be furious about NFL fine on Clark

Let's get this straight everyone...It wasn't 40K for how bad the hit was, it was 40K for it being the second head-to-head hit charged against Clark. The fine is a set number for second-time offenders.You can argue whether the hit was illegal, but the fine is mandatory as a second offense.

I don't think the hit warranted it, but it WAS his second offense being that it was called. Tha'ts why it's 40K. So stop arguing the fine amount! Argue whether the hit was illegal or not. The hit was judged illegal therefore it was an automatic 40K$ no matter how bad it actually was...

Since: Jun 2, 2009
Posted on: November 10, 2011 5:25 pm

Tomlin said to be furious about NFL fine on Clark

This one really doesn't look good for the Goodell office.  No way that was worthy of a 40K fine.  This is football we are talking about!  

Since: Oct 20, 2006
Posted on: November 10, 2011 5:24 pm

Tomlin said to be furious about NFL fine on Clark

Keep your head up on the hit?  What? If he kept his head higher he would have made direct contact with the receivers face, like Rayray did when he tackled Hines Ward's face with his helmet and got 1/2 the fine Clark did.  It's becoming obvious to me.  Steeler coaches should teach their defensive players to remove their helmets and their heads before making a tackle.  Other teams, just keep doing what you're doing.

Since: Jul 27, 2010
Posted on: November 10, 2011 5:22 pm

Tomlin said to be furious about NFL fine on Clark

UNless they make plays and penalties like this reviewable, this is going to happen. The fine is based on the "second time offender" rule so the amount is not some random number...he got hit with a fine recently and as a second offender, this is the fine, I have no problem with that...

That said, if they want the refs to really be strict with this and call it at real time, they need to give them the ability to take a call back if the play wasn't as they first thought. He hit him in the head, so I don't know if this would be overturned,,,it's a pretty quick play. That said, the Steelers have the be the whiniest bunch of guys in the NFL. The rule is pretty simple and although clark didn't intend it, he hit him with his head...not that hard to see. 

Since: Feb 14, 2009
Posted on: November 10, 2011 4:44 pm

Tomlin said to be furious about NFL fine on Clark

Seriously? Its getting old Pittsburgh. If you don't want to get fined, Ryan Clark, then keep your head up on the hit and wrap him up. If you want to go for the Rodney Harrison / Steve Atwater safety decleat, then do it, we all love watching it. But don't whine about being fined for it when you know the rules. Pay your fine and keep nailing dudes and keep expecting to get fined for it. Just because you're the Steelers doesn't mean the rules don't apply to you. Are the rules themselves problematic? Absolutely. Defenseless receiver rules overprotective? Definitely. But they aren't mysterious, they are plain. Follow them or be fined. Period.

Since: Jun 23, 2009
Posted on: November 10, 2011 4:43 pm

Tomlin said to be furious about NFL fine on Clark

If the Steeler organization feels that the hit was legal they should simply send a letter to Roger stating

"We feel that Ryan Clark's hit was legal and not be withholding the fine from his paycheck and no money will be sent to the NFL. We consider this matter closed and will not revisit it again."

It would be worth it just to see the look on Roger's face.

Since: Oct 18, 2006
Posted on: November 10, 2011 4:33 pm

Tomlin said to be furious about NFL fine on Clark

Can you NOT see that he is off his feet AFTER the hit? Dickson is a big guy and the force of the hit knocks Clark off his feet.

Since: Dec 15, 2010
Posted on: November 10, 2011 3:30 pm

Tomlin said to be furious about NFL fine on Clark

That call was just wrong, there was nothing wrong with that hit. There was some INCIDENTAL helment to helmet contact, but you can CLEARLY see that Clark was leading with his shoulder and he hit the receiver right on the ball. The ref says Dickson was a defenseless receiver, but that rule is supposed to apply when the receiver already misses the ball, dickson was still clearly in the process of gaining possession of the ball (had it in his hands).

It's just obvious that the NFL doesn't want these guys hitting each other very hard. They should just come out and say it, and stop trying to do it in a convuluted way.

The ref should have just said "personal foul, he hit the receiver too hard", because that's really what that flag was all about.

Since: Aug 16, 2006
Posted on: November 10, 2011 3:01 pm

Tomlin said to be furious about NFL fine on Clark

He hit helmet to helmet, that's a penalty.  I'm more annoyed with the Ray Lewis fine, he hit hard but all of them looked clean to me.

Really?  Clarks was a helmet to helmet, to you, but Lewis' hit on Ward wasn't?

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