If Ryan Clark has arrived at a crossroads, as he strongly hinted today, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell isn’t going to like it.
Furious over a $40,000 fine he received for a hit on Ravens tight end Ed Dickso, Clark said he may as well lead with his helmet if he’s going to get punished for it — or hit opposing receivers much lower.
“Do you just put people to sleep because you’re going to get fined anyway or do you blow (out) that ACL?” Clark said. “One of the two.”
Clark said Mike Tomlin informed him of the fine Tuesday morning. A day earlier, Clark said, Tomlin had used his hit on Dickson as a textbook example of how to legally dislodge the ball from a receiver.
The fine that set Clark off –- only James Harrison has incurred a larger one since the NFL’s crackdown on helmet to helmet hits — also had the outspoken free safety sounding a much different tone than he had a week earlier.
After getting fined $15,000 for hitting a Patriots player out of bounds, Clark had said he could see why the NFL had docked him. Clark wasn’t nearly as understanding after receiving his second fine in as many weeks.
“I totally agree with you if a guys out of bounds you shouldn’t hit him. I even applauded the NFL for trying to keep players safe,” Clark said. “But they’re going to get me hurt or fired.
“I’m all for player safety, so much so that I don’t want to hit people with my head. I try to get my head out of the way constantly and there’s reasons why I can’t lift my head up on Mondays, it’s because I’m using my shoulders.”
Clark plans to appeal the fine. One thing he won’t do is sit in the same room with Goodell unless they “handcuff me, which is probably the next step anyway.”
“There’s nothing Goodell could tell me…I’m not even going to call him Goodell. Nothing Roger could tell me, Ray Anderson,” Clark said. “De(Maurice) Smith can’t call me and tell me I’m wrong.”
Ben Roethlisberger echoed Clark’s sentiments and called on Smith, the NFLPA executive director, to “stand up and do something for our players.”
“If you slow it down and watch it it’s about as picture perfect of a tackle you can make,” Roethlisberger said of Clark’s hit. “His head was down right across the chest. The back of his helmet may have grazed the bottom of his face mask. Someone needs to stand up and do something like De Smith.”
— Scott Brown