Browns rookie T.J. Ward thinks he got lucky when NFL fined him


It’s reconciliation week in the NFL.

In Tennessee, Cortland Finnegan wants to apologize to Andre Johnson after their fight.   When the Browns travel to Cincinnati Sunday, rookie safety T.J. Ward hopes to speak with Bengals receiver Jordan Shipley, the man he knocked out cold with a vicious hit to the head in October.

“If I get the opportunity, I might just tell him it wasn’t my intent to hurt him or do anything like that, I was just playing the game,” Ward told Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer . “I hope he understands that. If not, I tried.”

Ward doesn’t believe it was a dirty hit, but admits he didn’t know the rules back then.  Ward’s hit was held up as an example by the league of what not to do.

“I just thought it was leading with your helmet that you’d get a penalty for, but I guess it’s just striking a defenseless receiver to the helmet,” Ward said. “I did hit him with my shoulder pad, it wasn’t helmet-to-helmet contact, but at the same time it was a blow to the head.”

That quote is exactly why the NFL started to emphasize punishing players after helmet-to-helmet hits.  Ward realizes the timing of his blow — just before the issue blew up nationally — may have saved him some money.   Ward was fined $15,000 by the league.

“I think I kind of started it all,” Ward said. “Compared to the $50,000 and $25,000 guys are getting, I guess it’s peanuts. I don’t think I could take that big of a fine.”

13 responses to “Browns rookie T.J. Ward thinks he got lucky when NFL fined him

  1. totally subjective fines, applications of penalties, and inconsistencies of who gets flagged and who doesn’t.

  2. How is it possible that these guys do not know what the rules are? They haven’t changed; the controversy has been the inconsistency in the League’s interpretation. These guys have been playing their entire lives and some of the basic stuff is unknown to them…like this, or McNabb/Big Ben not knowing about a tie game, etc. I could understand the obscure stuff like the free kick after a fair catch at the end of a half, but this stuff is basic. Either he is dumb or lying.

  3. Typical steeler homerism. This kid is a rookie, it was early in the year before all the helmet-hitting frenzy started, so he got a lighter fine. Also he says he was unaware and will adjust his game to comply. Exactly the opposite of your boy Harrison, who says he won’t change, and even after fines and warnings continues to make dirty hits. The guy is a toad and deserves to keep getting increasingly higher fines until he either quits doing it, or makes good on his bluff to just retire.

  4. .
    start fining the refs for non calls and wrong calls on these plays also.

    since nobody knows the rules and nobody understands physics.

  5. “klunge says: Dec 16, 2010 10:55 AM

    Typical steeler homerism.”

    Umm, it says Browns at Bengals. The black & gold aren’t even in the picture.

  6. NFL to players: We will continue to place weapons upon your heads, and will then continue to insist that you don’t use them, even though we have, in the past, glorified the hits that you make with those weapons, by selling posters & stuff.

  7. The league is inconsistant with their fines. Sometimes the fine is legit according to their rules and sometimes players are getting fined for a legitimate hit during the course of the play. If they want to see less concussion issues, then they need to go to the same dress code as they use in Australian Rules Football and Rugby. I can guarantee those linebackers and safeties are going to change their ways knowing that they dont have any padding. Shots to the head will go away.

  8. Hey, If Donovan McNabb could not be aware of the overtime rules a year or two ago then I find it VERY believable that defensive players might not be aware of every rule as far as when and where to hit someone. He knew helmet-to-helmet was a penalty which is why he lead with his shoulder pad. Definitely don’t think he’s a dirty player, and glad he’s man enough to admit he made a mistake and apologize face to face to Shipley.

  9. 2010 has absolutely been the worst year ever wrt officiating. Every game I’ve watched this year has had multiple bad and sometimes game-changing calls. The officials have no idea when/why to throw the flag. Many games this year have seen penalties and/or fines levied on good tackles. Then in the OAK@JAX game Zach Miller gets blown up by Considine, no penalty. Kyle Boller nearly gets his head taken off during a hook-slide, no penalty. Both hits were far worse than many that have been fined this year yet I’ve heard nothing of those hits even being looked at by the league. I’m not a Raiders fan but I don’t have to be to recognize that this game is was an example of how inconsistent the officiating has become.

    The NFL has made one point loud and clear – this league is about money. Fines are issued post-game and have no effect on the outcome of the games whatsoever. In effect the message is “we missed the call on the field but this fine makes up for it”. Ridiculous.

    The NFL has created such a mess with the officiating it’s becoming hard to watch the games. The only football really worth watching anymore is NCAA. At least those guys are for the most part playing because they love the game, only a fraction of them playing with the hope of being ordained into the Big Money league. The NFL is reaping what it’s sows.. it puts the focus on the almighty dollar and the players are following suit. Fewer players still play from the heart while more become like Albert Haynesworth, a money-hungry ego in shoulder pads who’s sole motivation is the financial bottom line.

    bspurloc brings up a good point. With so many bad calls every week I’d like to know why the officials aren’t held up to the same scrutiny as the players? Since the NFL has decided that a fine can make anything right, why not intensely study the film post-game and fine officials for bad calls? Has this even been considered?

  10. @whoplayswhere – I’ll take that as a compliment.

    To summarize for you, a fine after the game is of no consequence for that game or any future game (just ask James Harrison). It only emphasizes the fact that the league is about money more than sport. If the are trying to change the game, which is what it seems is the goal, they need to rewrite the rules to be clear and be sure all the officials understand the rules and can enforce them in a game. Right now the rules are enforced way too inconsistently across games.

    Better? While we are criticizing, in the future maybe you should refrain unless you can get through the entire sentence with all the words spelled correctly.

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