Cleveland Browns strong safety TJ Ward officially has $25,000 less to his name as the NFL levied a fine against the third-year safety for a hit which occurred in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s loss to the Dallas Cowboys.
When Ward put the finishing touch on an attempted pass to Cowboys wide receiver Kevin Ogletree, the team was handed a 15-yard penalty for what was deemed a hit to the helmet of a defenseless receiver. Replays showed that while Ward did not in fact hit the receiver in the helmet, that the speed of the game coupled with the subjectivity of the enforcement of said rule resulted in the penalty flag being thrown.
Unfortunately for Ward, this penalty was also viewed in similar light as his hit against then Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Jordan Shipley, ultimately resulting in a larger fine being levied against the third-year strong safety. He was docked $15,000 for the first hit.
“T.J. isn’t a dirty guy,” said former head coach Eric Mangini on the subject of the hard-hitting safety. “He’s not a dirty guy. He’s a young guy. He’s an aggressive guy and he’s an inexperienced guy, but he’s not a dirty guy.”
Ward has stated that he feels the fine was “not fair,” and was artificially high for being considered a repeat offender. He will appeal the NFL’s ruling.