Mike Tomlin's Statement - Craig Wolfley Web Site and Podcast

“I think the fine that Ryan Clark received was excessive. I am a proponent of player safety and the league’s pursuit of improvement in this area. 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.”
-Mike Tomlin

As usual, Mike cuts right to the point. The player safety issue that has taken the league in a direction in which it seemingly can’t find a consistent basis in which to determine fine-able hits is starting to unravel the edges of the integrity of the game.

There also seems to be a lot of leeway in the assigning of fine values, such as using the verbage “repeat offender” to kick in the escalation of fines instead of acknowledging a player’s attempt to fly right and make a hit within the bounds of the rules and arguably coming up a little short by the new standards.

How does Ryan warrant a double dose as compared to a guy that although he’s on the list for the first time, knocks a guy out of the game? The last time i looked, Ravens TE Ed Dixon got up and walked away from Clark’s hit and Hines Ward checked into la-la land.

Notice that Mike Tomlin did not say Ryan shouldn’t be fined. He said it was excessive. Like as in the case of a player trying to play within the mandates being set down, and still trying to be what he is. A professional football player.

I understand that repeat offenders who demonstrate an unwillingness to get with the program should be assigned escalating fines. Deliberate unabashed attempts to flagrantly violate league mandates are one thing. Trying to perform within the rules and still play football appear to be at diametrically opposite ends of the spectrum at this point in time.

What’s next? Are we going to see fines in the future for holding? That’s against the rules too. You want to talk about repeat offenders, there’s a whole bunch of them in the NFL.

You can walk through Ryan’s hit frame by frame on video. What you see is a guy trying to time up a hit on a guy at game speed not lead with his head but his shoulder, aim for the mid-section not the head, run through not launch. At game speed, not super slo-motion.

Yeah, you got some incidental head contact, which was by comparison your average driver getting into a fender bender while avoiding a major head-on collision. This is analagous to a kindergardener being sent home from school for packing a squirt gun in his back pack in a “zero-tolerance” school zone.

Ryan’s hit lined up with the new NFL safety guidelines as well as you can in real-time. But if you feel you got to, i can see an argument for a reasonable fine.

But $40,000? C’mon, get serious. Again, the NFL demonstrates common sense is lacking here folks.