NFL fines Ravens for another rules violation, this time in-helmet headset use

The NFL has fined the Baltimore Ravens for a rules infraction for the third time in as many years. (AP)
The NFL has fined the Baltimore Ravens for a rules infraction for the third time in as many years. (AP)

The Baltimore Ravens have been fined for violating league rules for the third time in as many years, this time for excessive use of the coach-to-player communication system.

What did the Ravens do wrong?

Baltimore was found to have had multiple players with the in-helmet headset on the field at the same time during preseason games.

League rules stipulate that there can only one player on the field at any time with the coach-to-player communication system; while multiple players can have the system in a helmet, if there is already a player on the field with the communication system – designated by a neon green dot on the back of the helmet – players may have to switch to helmets that aren’t wired.

It can get complicated for teams or players that substitute fairly frequently, but that’s the rule. Usually on offense the quarterback has the communication system, and on defense it is usually a middle linebacker, but they don’t always stay on the field for every snap.

NFL Network reported that the NFL fined the Ravens $200,000 for the infraction.

So what happened?

In a statement, the team blamed its equipment managers for the mistake.

“The Ravens’ equipment staff misunderstood that this league rule applied in the preseason. Ravens coaches were unaware that multiple players had communication devices in their helmets while on the field at the same time,” the statement said.

Players have been able to have the in-helmet communication device for at least a decade, so it’s a little weird that the Ravens’ equipment staff wouldn’t be clear on the rules.

Why do the Ravens keep running afoul of NFL rules?

This is the third time in three years that Baltimore has gotten in trouble for violating league rules.

In June, the team lost its last two on-field OTA sessions and both the organization and coach John Harbaugh were fined after violating the guidelines on offseason contact. Namely, that there isn’t supposed to be any.

At the time, Harbaugh said in a statement that the Ravens had been “single out for pass coverage contact.”

In 2016, Baltimore lost a week of OTAs after putting rookies in pads during rookie minicamp, another offseason no-no. Additionally, the team was also fined over $340,000 and Harbaugh $137,223 for that infraction.

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