Joel Turner, agent for Steelers S Ryan Clark, told PFW Wednesday afternoon he would file an appeal of his client's $40,000 fine for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Ravens TE Ed Dickson with the NFL by the end of the business day. Turner first told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette earlier Wednesday that he would appeal the fine.
Clark was assessed a penalty for unnecessary roughness for hitting Dickson late in the first half of the Steelers' 23-20 loss to Baltimore. On the play, Clark hit Dickson just as the Ravens' tight end tried to catch the ball. Clark's helmet collided with Dickson's helmet, and the pass fell incomplete. Dickson was unhurt.
The 15-yard penalty, which was for hitting a defenseless receiver, moved the Ravens to their 45-yard-line with 22 seconds left, and Baltimore was able to move into range for a 51-yard field goal at the end of the half.
"This defenseless receiver bullcrap has got to stop," Turner told PFW. "There is no one on the field who is defenseless."
Clark, who reportedly was fined $15,000 for hitting Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski out of bounds in Week Eight, strongly disagreed with being fined for his hit on Dickson.
"If I would have jumped up and put my facemask on his helmet, or put the crown of my helmet in his neck or his facemask, I would understand that," Clark said, per the team's website, Steelers.com. "But I didn't. I put my head all the way to the left as far as I could go. So unless I get a longer neck or a smaller head, there's nothing else I can do."
Turner didn't hold back in his criticism of the league and commissioner Roger Goodell.
"It is an absolute travesty that the commissioner has done something like this," he told PFW, calling Clark's hit "textbook."
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin also has come to Clark's defense.
"I think the fine that Ryan Clark received was excessive," Tomlin said Wednesday, according to Steelers.com. "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 so many levels. Ryan has my full support if he chooses to appeal this in any way."
Of Clark, Turner said: "He's livid. He's absolutely livid."
According to NFL guidelines, $40,000 is the minimum fine to be levied for a player running afoul of its defenseless-receiver guidelines for a second time.