T.J. Ward picks up $25,000 fine for hit on Kevin Ogletree


Ravens safety Ed Reed’s one game suspension for an illegal hit on a defenseless receiver was cut to $50,000 on appeal.  Browns safety T.J. Ward has been fined half that amount, prior to appeal, for a hit on Cowboys wideout Kevin Ogletree.

Like Reed, Ward isn’t happy.

It’s not fair,” Ward said, via Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.  “Maybe if I tried to celebrate or something afterwards, I could see it.  But I thought it was a clean, fair hit and I walked away.  It’s not my fault.  He was falling as I went to hit him.”

Ward says the league called the hit an illegal blow to the head.  Ward believes he didn’t hit Ogletree in the head.  The video suggests otherwise.

Ward also objected to the fact that the fine was enhanced by Ward’s hit on former Bengals receiver Jordan Shipley in 2010.  “[I]t wasn’t even similar to the hit I had before,” Ward said.  “I could see if it was a repeat offense for the same year.  But that was three years ago.”

Actually, it was two years ago.  And it falls within the three-season window that the league considers when determining whether a player is a repeat offender.

Regardless, Ward doesn’t think the punishment will reduce illegal hits.

“It’s not going to change it,” Ward said.  “Things are going to happen.  The next thing you’re going to see if guys with blown-out knees, because they’re going to start getting hit low.  I think it’s taking away from the game:  If I hit you in your chest and your facemask touches this much?”

Though players don’t like it, the sooner they accept it, the better off they’ll all be.  Every week, we see defensive backs passing on a helmet-first missile shot for a shoulder-to-shoulder hit.  The more the league emphasizes this technique, and the more that coaches teach how to hit the right way, the fewer illegal hits (and fines and suspensions) we’ll see.

27 responses to “T.J. Ward picks up $25,000 fine for hit on Kevin Ogletree

  1. Is there anybody on earth that believes these fines that Goodell levies are about his concern for player safety?

    This is no less transparent than Goodell claiming he’d accept one dollar a year salary during the labor strife.

    If Goodell (and the League) cared about player safety — there’d have been a whole lot more support for decades worth of retired ballers — guys who really need the support.

  2. Eventually the “hits” that make your living room go “OOHH” will be non-existent. That’s pretty much in line with the rest of the softening of our country.

  3. This is far too small a penalty.

    It should be a half-million dollars and a game suspension, because I know this T.J. Ward fellow, and I’ve seen him tackle someone before. His tackling in no way resembles hugs. He didn’t give Ogletree a present afterward, either.

    Truly vicious intent.

  4. I do not understand why these corners and safeties keep leading with their helmets. They need to learn how to TACKLE. If you want to lead with something, lead with your shoulder pads — and do not contact the helmet of the opponent. It isn’t rocket science.

  5. That penalty changed the game. Now the nfl is fining the players to cover the refs a$$. That was a football hit. The only way to avoid it is to play flag football. Bad call. Not to mention the refs getting the OT fumble incorrect. The nfl downswing is near.

  6. “omniscient48 says:
    Nov 21, 2012 8:58 PM
    I do not understand why these corners and safeties keep leading with their helmets. They need to learn how to TACKLE. If you want to lead with something, lead with your shoulder pads — and do not contact the helmet of the opponent. It isn’t rocket science.”

    I saw the hit live, he did lead with his shoulder. He was shaken up because he was blasted in the front and back at the same time. Throw into tight coverage and that’s what you get.

  7. “Ward believes he didn’t hit Ogletree in the head. The video suggests otherwise.”

    Actually the video suggest he was leading with his shoulder Yes, thats the part of Ward’s body that hits first). Yes their helmets hit, but side to side. If he had been hitting any non Cowboys player, no fine.

  8. “Now we will see more broken ribs and shoulder injuries…”

    Better than broken necks and brain injuries. I honestly thought Ogletree’s might have had a spinal injury on that hit. Textbook blow to the head of a defenseless receiver. Good flag, good fine.

  9. It’s not always easy when you’re a 6 foot safety running at full speed against a smaller receiver that lowers his head and advances forward . The choice is usually go high or go low , if the league really cared about player safety they would take the money they get selling DVD’s of the most ferocious hits and donate it to take care of the players that have long term health issues due to puting their bodies on the line ….

  10. I feel like most people who post the defensive players need to learn to tackle have never played football before I was always taught to go through the guy you keep your head up stick your face mask right under their chin and explode through the only reason there are fines for this crap is so defensive players stop tackling people and just let the players run by so more points are scored screw you goodell not everybody wants to see offensive output I absolutely love defense and big hits and low scoring games!!

  11. Some of the people commenting that the hit was a helmet to helmet “vicious hit” either haven’t seen the video or must be named Roger Goodell. No matter how many times you watch that video, you don’t see helmet to helmet, you see Ward’s helmet beside Ogletree’s helmet…they do bump heads but that has more to do with Ogletree lowering his head as he braces for the hit.

    Look at the link above…at the 0:27 mark, you see Ward’s facemask facing away from Ogletree, you then see Ogletree’s head move when Buster Skrine hits him from behind, not when Ward hit him. Then look at the other angle at the 0:41 mark, here you see Ward’s head beside Ogletree’s helmet, not hitting it. You again see Ogletree’s head move, but that is from the combination of his falling into the hit and Ward’s shoulder (which he led with) hitting the facemask as he is falling down.

    I get that they are trying to protect player safety, but they have to really analyze the video before they decide to fine players. This fine is based on 2 things. 1…Cowboy receiver. 2. There was a flag thrown for “helmet to helmet hit on a defenseless receiver” and the commish’s office needed to bail out the referees from that game.

  12. It helps to know the rule, Zaggs. Hitting a defenseless reciever in the head is a no-no, period. Doesn’t have to be helmet-to-helmet.

    Article 9 It is a foul if a player initiates unnecessary contact against a player who is in a defenseless posture.

    (a) Players in a defenseless posture are:

    (2) A receiver attempting to catch a pass; or who has completed a catch and has not had time to
    protect himself or has not clearly become a runner.

    (b) Prohibited contact against a player who is in a defenseless posture is:

    (1) Forcibly hitting the defenseless player’s head or neck area with the helmet, facemask, forearm, or shoulder, regardless of whether the defensive player also uses his arms to tackle the defenseless player by encircling or grasping him;

  13. Ogletree was trying to catch the ball between two defenders, and Ward hit him with his pads, not his helmet, square in his chest. I guess the refs had a lot riding on the Cowboys! Don’t make the NFL weak!

  14. Yes. TJ Ward hits hard. You throw the ball into a tight window, your WR will get hit.

    Close game, gotta hit the WR making a play. Perhaps it hurt poor little Ogletree, but a penalty and a fine? Naw. That was just football.

    Tougher call than a false start, I guess. Oh, wait…

  15. it doesnt matter if u hit them with ur shoulder in the head its a flag read the rule book no contact to a defenseless players head wether it be shoulders or helmet…it was a good call..now idk about a 25,000 dollar fine but the flag was right

  16. “Ward says the league called the hit an illegal blow to the head. Ward believes he didn’t hit Ogletree in the head. The video suggests otherwise”.

    Actually, no it doesn’t, he lead with the shoulder as others have mentioned. I guess you see what you want to see though. I find it hilarious that you post a shaky video recorded by a 12 year old to justify your argument though..well done…

  17. You guys need to get the heck outa here with your lame “it’s because he’s a Cowboy” excuse…The refs in no way favor the Cowboys any more than any other team…There are good and bad calls for everyone…Quit your whining and excuse making…

  18. This has nothing to do with Ogletree being a cowboy, so please stop with that b.s, shortly after this play they called a personal foul because Jay Ratliff said something mean to Brandon Weeden, and in Romo’s entire career the other team has been called for roughing the passer all of 1 time, by far the least in the NFL. Dallas has been on the receiving end of this many times, a couple years ago Jay Ratliff was fined for hitting Mcnabb in the knees on a play where he was tackled into his knees.This fine has nothing to do with Dallas….

    That said, brutal call during the game and it’s crazy that he gets a fine for it, basically the new rule is that “hard hits” to WR’s are illegal…..we are seriously 5-10 years from flag football

  19. Here is an idea…make a helmet that protects the players so well that helmet to helmet hits are not even an issue or a threat to a players health…HOW BOUT THAT?

    Don’t say it can’t be done either…it has already been done, yet Roger Goodell and water carriers like Mike Florio continue to believe the game is the problem and should be changed…RATHER THAN fixing the damn helmets.

    The “ProCap” has successfully protected players who’s careers were in jeopardy due to frequent or severe concussions, dating back to the 1980s.

    Both Steve Wallace (49ers OT) and before him, Mark Kelso (Bills Safety), wore the ProCap and extended their careers by many years because they did use the ProCap. Both Wallace and Kelso retired on their terms, rather than being forced to retire due to concussions.

    In short, the ProCap worked…

    Yet Roger Goodell and the NFL continue to try to change the game rather than mandating the use of a safer helmet. It absolutely defies common sense.

    The original ProCap was a tough polyurethane foam shell stuck to a standard hard helmet with velcro…a very simple fix that has been successfully used in the NFL.

    Today’s football helmet does not give much better protection than the helmets I used back in the late 60s and early 70s…a rock hard outer shell with padding and inflatable air bags positioned inside.

    Using foam padding on the outside of NFL helmets actually predates the ProCap. Hall of Fame linebacker, Willie Lanier used padding on the outside of his helmet after he suffered a very serious concussion his rookie season.

    A KC Chiefs trainer got the idea of adding wide strip of padding (front to back) to the outside of Lanier’s helmet…AND IT WORKED ! Willie Lanier wore that helmet the rest of his hall of fame career, from late 1967 to the end of the 1977 season.

    Over the last two years, researchers and engineers at Virginia Tech have conducted tests on the helmets used by the NFL. I spoke to one of the lead engineers on the testing project and asked him if he was aware of the ProCap. He was not only aware of the ProCap, he told me the engineering department had a ProCap…but it was not included in the testing along with the other NFL helmets.

    This engineer did not know why the ProCap was not included in the testing or who made the decision not to test it…but the engineer admitted the ProCap “would test better” than any of the helmets included in their testing.

    I spoke to the individual who invented the ProCap and he knows his product provides better protection against brain trauma than any of today’s helmets, yet the NFL refuses to mandate the use of the ProCap.

    He did tell me that “one doctor” provided an opinion for the NFL that claimed individuals using the ProCap would be at risk of neck injuries because the softer outside of a helmet with a ProCap would not slide off as easily in helmet to helmet contact.

    Did the NFL’s doctor doing any testing to arrive at this conclusion?….NO!…the NFL did no testing to back up their claims against the use of the ProCap.

    Roger Goodell and the NFL continues to ignore the one product than has been proven by NFL players, to reduce and virtually eliminate the risk of concussion…that product is the ProCap.

    This is not rocket science folks…you can only add so much padding to the inside of helmet. Time to face the facts that adding a soft shell on the outside of a helmet is the fix that is needed, “IF” the NFL’s priority is player safety.

    So far, based on the actions of the NFL, one can only conclude that player safety is not a priority for Roger Goodell and the NFL…fining players for accidental helmet to helmet contact is the NFL’s answer to the problem.

    Happy Thanksgiving…mac

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