Tomlin calls Shazier's hit on Bengals RB Bernard 'ugly'
March 22, 2016 9:45 AM
Ryan Shazier hits Bengals running back Giovani Bernard in the AFC wild-card game in January.
By Gerry Dulac / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
BOCA RATON, Fla. – Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin referred to Ryan Shazier’s knockout helmet hit on Bengals running back Giovani Bernard in a wild-card playoff game as “an ugly hit” and agreed it should be legislated out of the game.
Tomlin, though, said Shazier’s hit, which forced a fumble that the Steelers recovered at their 25, was legal under the rules that existed last season. Shazier was not penalized on the play.
The league’s competition committee, of which Tomlin is a member, changed the rule on Monday.
“We all agreed that it’s an ugly hit, not one we want in football,” Tomlin said today during the annual AFC coaches’ breakfast at the NFL owners meetings. “It wasn’t illegal. We just looked at the language around the rule and softened it or altered it to make sure we’re creating a climate where those hits don’t occur.”
Shazier was not penalized on the play because he did not “line up” Bernard and hit him head-on with the crown of his helmet. Under the new rule, however, a player will be penalized even if he strikes another player in the helmet coming from an angle, as Shazier did.
“Ryan didn’t necessarily line him up but what he did was lower his head,” Bengals Coach Marvin Lewis said after being told of Tomlin’s comment. “It’s the way the rule was interpreted. Now the league wants to adjust it a bit.”
Gerry Dulac: gdulac @post-gazette.com and Twitter @gerrydulac.
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