Tuesday, September 21, 2010
John Harbaugh fined $15,000 by NFL
ESPN.com news services
OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- The NFL fined Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh $15,000 Tuesday for impermissible verbal and physical contact with an official.
During the Ravens 15-10 loss Sunday to Cincinnati, Harbaugh made contact with line judge Ron Marinucci in the chest while demonstrating where outside linebacker Terrell Suggs hit Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer during a questionable roughing-the-passer penalty.
During his Monday news conference, Harbaugh admitted crossing the line but did not seem to expect any disciplinary action.
"I was a little animated in describing the strike zone, and I think he understood the emotions of it," Harbaugh said. "I'll make sure that I let him know that I think I was over the line in my animation without question, and that's never something you want to do.
"And the point is we had great conversations with those guys throughout the game. We disagreed and it was animated, but it was respectful throughout. And I know Ron understood that it was respectful, so it should be OK."
Meanwhile, former NFL vice president of officiating Mike Pereira weighed in on the call and said the officials made an error in judgment.
"While referees are instructed to err on the side of safety when it comes to protecting the quarterback, I feel the call was incorrect," Pereira said on FOX. "Suggs made a form tackle on Palmer. And while he did land on top of him, he did not appear to unnecessarily or violently throw the quarterback down and land on top of him with most or all of his weight, which is what the rule states. I can see why the referee made the call that he did, but to me, it was a normal tackle and not a foul."
Harbaugh reiterated that he believes neither All-Pro middle linebacker Ray Lewis, who was flagged for tripping Palmer when he appeared to be blocked into the quarterback, nor Suggs deserved to be penalized.
Both penalties led to Bengals field goals.
"You try to coach your guys to do things, from a technique standpoint, correctly," Harbaugh said. "There's no corrections that you can make in those two penalties. Those guys did exactly what they were asked to do within the rules of the game. I thought they did it perfectly.
"Ray got cut, he was going 100 miles an hour, he got cut, he was rolling on the ground, his legs were on the ground when Carson tripped. What am I going to tell Ray as a coach? Terrell wrapped up the quarterback and tackled him. That's what we coach our guys to do. They did exactly what we coach them to do, and you just move on from there. You can't control the rest of it."
Before Tuesday's fine, the Ravens had planned to submit film of those calls in an effort to gain clarity on what happened.
"I think the league does a good job," Harbaugh said. "I think they work really hard to make us understand what the officials are looking at and all that stuff. They do the best they can with it. It's a tough job. It's not easy. We just move on. It's not something that we're going to sit there and worry about. They'll do the best they can to get better, and we'll do the best we can to get better."
Suggs, who was flagged last year for grazing the leg of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady during a regular-season loss, said he has no intentions of changing his approach to the game.
He said after the game that while the NFL is going to "protect the guys that pay their bills, which is the quarterbacks," he's not going to change the way he plays. He even questioned that if wasn't Palmer, but "a lesser quarterback," whether the flag even would have been thrown.
"I'm a physical player, and I was already engaged in him," Suggs said. "If I had to do the play again, I would do it again."
After Sunday's game, Lewis bemoaned the penalties that ultimately cost the Ravens the game.
"There were six points given off [bad] calls," Lewis said. "It's six points. They didn't earn it. You don't come into a lion's den and play nice, man. This is football, and football is getting hit. There's so many rules that take away from the game."
Information from ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter and The Associated Press was used in this report.