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Tag:Ryan CLark
Posted on: March 5, 2012 5:30 pm
Edited on: March 5, 2012 5:38 pm
 

Players come to Gregg Williams' defense

Then-Jags defensive coordinator Gregg Williams signals a play during training camp in July 2006. It was a simpler time.  (AP)

By Ryan Wilson

Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams was summoned to the NFL's Manhattan headquarters Monday to discuss further the league's findings that the Saints (where Williams was the defensive coordinator from 2009-2011) had a "pay for performance" bounty program that rewarded players for injuring opponents.

Williams issued an apology Friday, hours after the the news broke, and in the hours and days since everybody has weighed in on the matter. Oft-fined and once suspended Steelers linebacker James Harrison tweeted Sunday: “We’ll see how concerned the NFL is about player safety when they decide what the punishment for the saints is. I’ll just say this, if that was me I would have been kicked out of the NFL!”

New Orleans' forgettable offseason
Later that day, Harrison retweeted this from teammate Ryan Clark, who played for the Redskins when Williams was the coach there: "Never in my career has a defensive coach singled out a player and put $ on his head. I've never been offered $ to put a player out of a game."

During a Monday appearance on ESPN, Clark finished his thought (via PFT.com): ‘If you knock out this guy we will give you a certain amount of money for it.’ Whether it was my head coach Joe Gibbs, whether it was Gregg Williams, I was never, ever approached to take a guy out. …

“If these things are going on, you speak up while they’re happening,” Clark said. “If you’re in a meeting and a coach comes in and says, ‘Hey, No. 16, whoever he is, if you knock him out of the game we’re going to pay you x amount of dollars.’ Then you blow the whistle then and say, ‘Look, I’m not going to be a part of this. If we continue to do this, I will report it.’ To me, that’s making a statement, that’s making a stand and that’s being loyal to all the players in this league.”

Another former Redskins defensive back, Fred Smoot, also came to Williams' defense.

“First of all I want to correct everybody,” Smoot said Monday after calling into 106.7 The Fan (via the Sports Bog). “It was never a system. And let me tell you something: this was a thing that I think started in training camp with us as players. It started off with who could get the most interceptions, who could get the biggest hit or who could get the sacks, and we took it into games."

NFL rules prohibit monetary incentives for interceptions and sacks, too. Although Williams probably wouldn't have been sitting in commissioner Roger Goodell's office Monday if that's all he was accused of. Smoot continued:

“Gregg never said take out this player or take out this player," he said. "But I’m sorry, back when I played football, we used to actually hit people. It was legal to go out and hit people. And we wanted to be the most physical team, and we wanted to inflict pain, but in no way possible did we ever want to go out there and endanger anybody’s career or take somebody truly out of the game....

“It was more or less we would start a pot in the defensive backfield of who could get the most forced fumbles or who could get the most interceptions, who could do that. It was never a bounty; it was more or less a pot that all of us players put in. Gregg never put in a dime. Gregg never came in and said do this, do this, do that. We did that ourselves, as a way to kind of pump each other up to go make more plays.”

Smoot admitted that he understood why the league might frown upon bounty programs but reiterated that “I never saw anyone paid for knocking someone out of the game. Did we as players put in pots to make plays, what we called the Big Splash Plays Pot? Yeah, we did that. WE did that. Players. That started by the captains on the team…."

Smoots remarks runs counter to a Washington Post report from Friday. Mark Maske wrote that three former Redskins players "described a coach (in Williams) who doled out thousands of dollars to Redskins defenders who measured up to Williams’s scoring system for rugged play, including 'kill shots' that knocked opposing teams’stars out of a game. 'You got compensated more for a kill shot than you did other hits,' one former player said. Compensation ranged from 'hundreds to thousands of dollars' with the biggest payout thought to be $8,000."

Wherever the truth lies, things could end badly for Williams. And to a lesser extent, New Orleans head coach Sean Payton, who had knowledge of the reported bounty program, and the Saints' organization.

If it's any consolation to Williams (and we can't imagine it is but we're including it here for completeness), Weight Watchers spokesman Charles Barkley is appalled by former players anonymously ratting Williams out.

“You have to be a punk to snitch that out,” Barkley said during an appearance on the Dan Patrick Show. “That’s like giving a reporter an anonymous quote. That makes you a punk, if you do anonymous, but also, you don’t bring that out X amount of years later. I mean you don’t compete in it if you don’t want to be in it. But I’ve seen at least three or four well-known NFL players say all teams have bounties. So I’m glad they came to Gregg Williams’ defense. Because I’m pretty sure all teams have that.”

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Posted on: January 3, 2012 12:59 pm
Edited on: January 3, 2012 1:05 pm
 

Tomlin: Ryan Clark won't play in Denver

Pittsburgh will be short-handed in the secondary when they face Denver Sunday. (US PRESSWIRE)

By Ryan Wilson

The Steelers will face the Broncos in the wild-card round Sunday at 4:30 p.m. ET and they'll do it without two of their best players. Running back Rashard Mendenhall tore his ACL against the Browns in Week 17 and his season is over. Safety Ryan Clark is healthy, at least as sea level, but a sickle-cell trait that is triggered at high altitudes will keep him on the bench in Denver (elevation 5,280 feet).

According to CBSSports.com Rapid Reporter Chuck Finder, head coach Mike Tomlin said during his Tuesday press conference that playing Clark wasn’t worth the risk, especially since Clark lost a spleen and gall bladder after playing in Denver in 2007.

Pittsburgh's coach called it an "easy decision," adding “I met with Ryan Clark yesterday and informed him I’m not going to let him play for obvious reasons. It is a big game for us, but it is a game. We’ll keep it in perspective.”

Clark tweeted Tuesday: "Well I guess we all know now. I will not be playing. Glad that it's out now. So no more questions to ask. Thanks for your concern!"

Ryan Mundy, the team's 2008 sixth-round pick out of West Virginia, is expected to fill in for Clark. Mundy has two career starts, both coming in 2010 filling in for an injured Troy Polamalu. He has one career interception, which came in Week 12 against the Chiefs, as well as a 33-yard reception on a fake punt earlier this season against the Titans.

The Steelers traveled to Denver for a 2010 preseason game and Clark didn't play then, either. He worked out on the field before kickoff without incident but the fear of damage to his brain and/or heart clearly wasn't worth the potential consequences.

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Posted on: January 2, 2012 4:24 pm
Edited on: January 2, 2012 4:34 pm
 

Steelers RB Rashard Mendenhall has torn ACL

Pittsburgh will be without Mendenhall for the postseason. (AP)

By Ryan Wilson

The Steelers will face the Broncos in Sunday's wild-card game without their starting running back. Rashard Mendenhall, the team's 2008 first-round pick, has a torn ACL, according to CBSSports.com Rapid Reporter Chuck Finder (via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette). Head coach Mike Tomlin hinted after Sunday's win over the Browns that Mendenhall could be out for some time and tests have confirmed those fears.

Now Pittsburgh will lean heavily on Isaac Redman, and undrafted rookie free agent John Clay, who didn't get his first carry until Week 16 against the Rams. Veteran Mewelde Moore could also be an option if he has recovered from a knee injury suffered in San Francisco two weeks ago. 

Prior to the regular-season finale in Cleveland, the biggest injury issue for the Steelers centered around the health of their franchise quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger. Big Ben suffered a high-ankle sprain three weeks ago during the first meeting between Pittsburgh and Cleveland. He limped his way through a loss against the 49ers but sat out last week's victory over the Rams.

In addition to Mendenhall, Pittsburgh could also be without cornerbacks Cortez Allen and Keenan Lewis, who suffered shoulder and hamstring injuries, respectively, in Cleveland. Safety Ryan Clark may also miss the Broncos game because of sickle-cell trait that is triggered when he plays football at high altitudes. His status will be decided later in the week.


Pittsburgh Steelers' running back, Isaac Redman, carried the ball 19 times for 92 yards and a touchdown in a 13-9 victory over the Cleveland Browns. Join CBS Sports' Kevin Harlan and Solomon Wilcots for a recap of all the action.

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Posted on: December 15, 2011 2:45 pm
 

Tomlin wants players mum on Harrison suspension

Not every Pittsburgh player offered 'no comment.' Some remain confused by the league's punishment policies. (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

The league suspended Steelers linebacker James Harrison one game on Tuesday. Harrison promptly appealed and the expedited hearing was held Wednesday. A ruling could come as soon as Thursday afternoon.

In the meantime, the Steelers are preparing for Monday night's matchup with the 49ers as if they will be without Harrison. During head coach Mike Tomlin's Tuesday press conference, he said "We have to prepare as if he is not going to play, of course. We will move forward, James will move forward. …

"We're disappointed," Tomlin continued. "We're disappointed for James because we know how hard he's worked to play within the rules, [but] he has to be accountable for that so we accept the judgment rendered by the league office."

And according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Ed Bouchette, Tomlin has also instructed his players not to talk about Harrison's suspension publicly. Dutifully, safety Troy Polamalu offered up a "no comment."

But Bouchette points out that many Steelers players disagreed with Harrison's punishment because of the arbitrary nature with with the league hands down sanctions.  For example:
Other [players] thought it unfair that Harrison was suspended for trying to make a tackle while Oakland defensive lineman Richard Seymour was only fined $30,000 for punching Dolphins offensive lineman Richie Incognito earlier this month, even though it was the second time he had punched another player in two seasons. Seymour punched Ben Roethlisberger last year and was fined $25,000. He was ejected on both occasions.

So repeating a mistake trying to make a tackle cost a suspension while a repeat in throwing a premeditated punch after a play -- which would get a player arrested if he had done it on the street -- drew a fine of only $5,000 more than the first time?
Cornerback Ike Taylor said slightly more than "no comment" on the matter.

James Harrison suspended
"Man, they're tripping," he said of the NFL. "I don't know what it is. [Harrison's] getting it handed to him in the NFL way ... He didn't stomp on nobody, he didn't punch nobody's private area."

"We have to continue to try to play within the rules, try to do the right things because it's a battle we really can't win," said safety Ryan Clark, who has already been fined twice this season and could be in line for a suspension if it happens again. "The NFL is going make the decision on who plays and who doesn't and, for us, we have to try to find a way to play within the rules and still be able to maintain a physical presence out there."

Whatever the NFL's enforcement strategy, Polamalu thinks that it's too late for many players to change.

"I don't think any football player is going to go out there and change the way they're playing. I think it's too late in our lives to really do that. Of course, we're professional athletes and we try our best to adjust, but it's tough."

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Posted on: November 10, 2011 11:05 pm
Edited on: November 10, 2011 11:05 pm
 

Babin says Bears played dirty on MNF

Babin says he 'got the s--- knocked' out of him on a cheap shot from the Bears(Getty Images)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

This would go a long way in explaining why the Eagles defense refused to tackle anyone against the Bears Monday night, although there's still the issue of what happened the first five weeks of the season when, you know, the Eagles defense refused to tackle anyone. Either way, defensive end Jason Babin had some choice words for Chicago.

On Thursday Babin said the Bears, on a play in the second quarter, brought a tight end in motion and blindsided him. Babin thinks he was a defenseless player.

“I got the s--- knocked out of me,” he said, according to CSNPhilly.com. “I knew somebody hit me from the side and I didn’t know where it came from or who it was. To me it’s one of those plays, where somebody could get really hurt, especially if you’re running full speed and not looking.” Babin also said that it was an “intentionally called play.”

“If everything is about safety and protecting players, then that should definitely fall under the safety rules and regulations,” he said. “I saw it on tape and I was like ‘wow, they did that.’”

Babin says the Eagles talked to the league about the play in question, although we don't suspect much will be done about it. And that's because, in the league's eyes, defense is boring. The NFL arithmetic goes something like this: more offense means higher ratings which means more money.

“It’s one of those things where we don’t get any protection,” He said. “We just get in trouble for it.”

Ryan Clark has absolutely no idea what you're talking about, Jason.


After an overtime win over the Rams last week, the Arizona Cardinals hope to continue this week as they go up against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. Join Jason Horowitz and NFL.com's Pat Kirwan as they preview this matchup.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're at it, add our RSS Feed.
Posted on: November 9, 2011 10:01 pm
 

Tomlin said to be furious about NFL fine on Clark

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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Posted on: November 9, 2011 2:22 pm
Edited on: November 9, 2011 3:10 pm
 

Ryan Clark fined $40K, Ray Lewis fined $20K

Posted by Will Brinson



Everyone knows that Ravens-Steelers games are a different (read: more violent) brand of football and that was exactly the case on Sunday night, when Baltimore snuck out a win in Pittsburgh. Ray Lewis and Ryan Clark delivered the most notable hits of the evening -- Lewis knocked Hines Ward with a clear helmet-to-helmet hit but wasn't flagged, while Clark picked up a 15-yard penalty for a hit on Ed Dickson.

Tuesday, Ryan Wilson told you to expect fines for both guys, and on Wednesday, they came down from the league. Lewis was fined $20,000 for his hit on Ward and Clark was fined $40,000 by the NFL for his hit on Dickson. Clark is especially unhappy about it.

Reviewing Week 9

"The hit wasn't malicious at all," Clark said, per Will Graves of the Associated Press. "i know how to knock somebody out if i want to knock them out. Am I supposed to let him catch it and then wait for him and hug him? Should I throw a pillow at him? Should I blow a whistle?"

And the Steelers safety had some choice words for Commissioner Roger Goodell as well.

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

Lewis wasn't happy either, but had less aggressive words for the league office.

"Yeah, I heard from the league and like I said they fined me whatever they was going to fine me," Lewis said, via Aaron Wilson of the Carroll County Times. "The thing is you definitely respect them trying to protect player safety. At the same time, it won't change not one way I play this week no matter what the fine is. You can't stop playing defense the way defense has always been created to play. When the receiver has the ball, your job is to disengage him from the ball. You never want to hurt nobody.

"I've been in this business too long. I just think once you start getting into these fines I don't know how they come up with the numbers most of the time."

Well, actually, the NFL has a pretty standardized system for fines, though there is some confusion about the application. A fine for a hit on a defenseless player or impermissible use of a helmet (including illegal launching) is $20,000, which explains Lewis' fine.

And a repeat-offender fine is $40,000, which is why Clark, who's been targeted more than once by the NFL, got double what Lewis did, even though the safety claims the hit wasn't against league rules.

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Posted on: November 8, 2011 4:14 pm
Edited on: November 8, 2011 4:20 pm
 

Lewis, Harrison, Clark could face fines

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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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com