Ryan Clark received bad news from the NFL offices Wednesday telling him that he was fined for his hit on Ed Dickson during Pittsburgh's loss to Baltimore. Clark's fine was $40,000 for a hit that he and his coach thought was clean.
Clark was fined $15,000 last week for a hit out of bounds, and he accepted it without question because he knew he was wrong. He doesn't feel the same way about this hit. From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
"This time it's wrong," Clark said and then criticized commissioner Roger Goodell, "not that I respected Roger before this."
Clark said if he's going to get hit with such a big fine on what he and [Steelers head coach Mike] Tomlin and teammates believe was a clean hit, "I might as well put him to sleep for real" or take out the receiver's knee.
Who wants to lay odds that Clark will get another fine for these comments?
The kicker? Mike Tomlin used this particular hit in the Steelers film session to demonstrate how to tackle cleanly. He was reportedly furious when he learned of the fine for his player, and said that Clark has his "full support" if he chooses to appeal the fine.
The Steelers have been outspoken about the arbitrary natures of NFL fines in the past. James Harrison received a $75,000 fine last season for a hit of Joshua Cribbs that resulted in a concussion. At the time, Harrison and Tomlin called it a clean hit.
A year later, the players and coaches still aren't clear on what constitutes a legal hit because there is still not consistency among officials on what is an illegal hit. The NFL fined Ray Lewis for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Hines Ward during Sunday night's game, but he was not penalized during the game. If the officials don't even know what hits to flag, how will the players and coaches learn what they can or can't do?
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