If you’ve ever watched a Ravens-Steelers game you know that it’s one filled with tough hits and should not be played by the faint of heart.
As expected this Wednesday some fines were handed down from the league on a few players, one of which was Ray Lewis. Lewis was fined $20,000 after he made helmet to helmet contact while tackling Hines Ward. Lewis was not penalized on the field for the play. Ward was removed from the game in the Second Quarter and did not return.
Lewis had this to say about the fine.
“I heard from the league, and they fined me whatever they were going to fine me, but I’ll definitely call in [an appeal],” Lewis said Wednesday. “I think the thing is, you definitely respect them trying to protect players’ safety, but at the same time, it won’t change the way I play in this league, no matter what the fine is. You just can’t stop playing defense the way this defense has always played.
“If the receiver has the ball, it’s your job to disengage him from the ball. You never want to hurt anybody. I’ve been in this business too long, and the last thing you want to do is hurt anyone. But I just think that once you start getting into these fines — and I don’t even know how they come up with these numbers — just get done with it and whatever it is. I’ll talk to the league and move on from there.”
Steelers players Ryan Clark and James Harrison also received fines for hits during Sunday night’s game. Clark’s hit on Ed Dickson earned him a 15-yd penalty during the game plus a hefty $40,000 fine. Clark’s comments were a bit more interesting.
“So it’s going to turn into if you’re going to fine me $40,000, I might as well put him to sleep for real or I might as well blow his knee out.”
I know that Clark is frustrated that he and his Steelers teammates have been fined repeatedly but he needs to chose his words more carefully. It sounds like he’s ready to take his opponents out next time and intentionally injure them. I remember Clark’s vicious hit on Willis McGahee back in the playoffs in 2009. It was a scary shot but one that was still legal.
This all of course brings up yet again the discussion that the NFL has turned soft. These hits ten years ago would have been applauded on television and probably featured on a NFL sponsored video. I understand the reaction towards player concussions since the league had turned a blind eye to the issue for so long. But it seems as if they now overreact to situations and seem to randomly assign fines even when penalties haven’t been assessed during the game.
I don’t see this changing in the near future. There will be more hits, more fines, and more controversy.