The NFL fined Ryan Clark $40,000 for a hit from Sunday's game at Heinz Field and the Steelers safety is angry about it. So, too, is his head coach and his quarterback.
Clark said Mike Tomlin informed him of the fine and said the hit, on Baltimore tight end Ed Dickson was used by the Steelers coach to demonstrate a good, clean hit during the team's video review of the game on Monday.
Tomlin was said to be furious when he learned about the fine from the league office today.
"I think the fine that Ryan Clark received was excessive," Tomlin said in a statement issued through the team's public relations department."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 somany levels.
"Ryan has my full support if he chooses to appeal this in any way."
Clark also was fined $15,000 the previous week for a hit out of bounds, one he said he accepted because it was wrong. However, he did not accept this one.
"This time it's wrong," Clark said and then criticized commissioner Roger Goodell, "not that I respected Roger before this."
Clark said if he's going to get hit with such a big fine on what he and Tomlin and teammates believe was a clean hit, "I might as well put him to sleep for real" or take out the receiver's knee.
Clark is the Steelers representative to the NFL Players Association.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger backed up Clark and called for NFLPA head De Smith to do something about it to protect the players from such fines.
"It's unfortunate," Roethlisberger said."You never want to see one of your guys get hit, especially for that much money. I went back and watched it. If you slow down and watch it, it's about as picture-perfect of a tackle you can make. His head was down right across the chest and the back of his helmet maybe grazed the wide receivers bottom of the face mask. Someone needs to stand up and do something like D Smith. He is our player guy, stand up and do something for our players."
"Everybody's upset," Clark said of his teammates and coaches.
Clark said he did everything he's asked to do to make a clean hit on that play.
"We watched this in slo-mo as a team, and as a team say if you're going to dislodge the ball from somebody, this is the legal way to do it," Clark said, quoting Tomlin. "This is what we talked about in our meeting."
Joel Turner, Clark's agent, said he will file an appeal before the day is over, but Clark said he really has little recourse.
"None, I mean you can appeal but I'm appealing to the same person," he said, referring to Goodell."The same man. I know he's not going to sit across from because I'm not going to sit across from him unless they handcuff me, which is probably the next step anyway."