Tag:Todd Heap
Posted on: October 19, 2010 4:40 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2010 5:13 pm

Fines: Harrison $75K; Meriweather, Robinson $50K

Posted by Will Brinson

Brandon Meriweather, Dunta Robinson and James Harrison are a lot lighter in the wallet after today -- the NFL announced that Meriweather and Robinson will be fined $50,000 and Harrison will be fined $75,000, for their "devastating" hits from Sunday. 

Chris Mortensen first reported Harrison's fine, Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston initially dropped the news of Meriweather's fine and Fox Sports' Jay Glazer first reported that Robinson was fined $50,000 fine as well for his hit on Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson.

None of the players will be suspended, according to current reports, but make no mistake -- those are monster fines (remember that Rodney Harrison said he saved up $50K for a season) and the league is making a clear statement that it intends to back up its newly found desire to enforce a rule already in place.

Robinson's hit was called "illegal" by NFL VP Ray Anderson earlier, but it's still surprising that he'll receive the same amount as Meriweather, simply based on the intent behind the hit. 

Harrison reportedly received more than Robinson and Meriweather because of "repeat offender" status. What's interesting about these fines is that the NFL doesn't appear to be discerning between a player's "intent" or not -- Meriweather essentially headbutted Todd Heap, while Robinson's hit on Jackson was, as Anderson put it, a "bang-bang play." Anderson calling the hit "illegal" indicates the league's belief that what a player was trying to do doesn't matter.

The reaction to these fines, from NFL players, should be interesting -- Chris Harris already told our own Dave Richard that the league's reaction was "knee-jerk," Antrell Rolle called it "absolutely ridiculous", and Aaron Curry tweeted that the fines were "absolutely crazy."

In a statement, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said that "increased discipline for violating player-safety rules [will] include suspensions" but that there were no suspensions this week because "fair warning needed to be given to players and clubs before increased discipline starts to include game suspensions."

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Posted on: October 19, 2010 10:16 am
Edited on: October 19, 2010 10:39 am

Ray Anderson: 'We are not changing any rules'

Posted by Will Brinson

Anyone paying attention to professional football this weekend noticed a plethora of big (or, if you prefer, "devastating," which Ray Anderson may or may not, depending on which ESPN personality he's talking to) hits that resulted in the league announcing that it would begin to suspend players for these big hits.

This news, which Andy and I predicted recently, was met with relatively widespread acceptance, although if NFL VP of Football Operations Ray Anderson is to be understood, it's not actually a change from what the league's been doing thus far.

"We are not changing any rules, just enforcing the existing rules to protect our players," Ray Anderson said on ESPN's Radio "Mike & Mike."

Technically, that's correct -- the NFL and its officials have the power to suspend players and eject them from games for "egregious" hits, respectively. But neither party has done a spectacular job of enforcement thus far. According to Anderson, that will change now.

"I don't know where the word 'devastating' came from -- that's not my word," Anderson said. "What I would say is that  if there are flagrant and egregious [violations] of the rules, we will be enforcing immediately discipline at a higher level. 

We need to get our players firmly in line with the current rules and that's what our intentions are effective immediately."

(Quickly: Anderson supposedly used "devastating" in talking to Chris Mortenson on Monday night, then he denied using it -- see above, then Mort said on SportsCenter that Anderson DID use it. Just to catch you up.)

And that's the key: the NFL wants the players to get in line, and that doesn't just apply to intentions. In fact, Anderson said that intent wouldn't be considered the primary concern, while instead stressing the importance of "liability" on the part of the tackling player.

In other words, James Harrison is responsible for adjusting his pad level to Mohamed Massaquoi, when Massaquoi, as the ballcarrier, drops the ball. Brandon Meriweather's "hit" (read: headbutt) on Todd Heap was considered "egregious" by Anderson, and that's good news -- even without the NFL's policy shift, the Patriots safety escaping sans fine would be shocking.

Perhaps the most interesting case is with Dunta Robinson and DeSean Jackson. Robinson's intention, at least interpreted by 90 percent of the people watching and involved with the game, weren't malicious, even if the result was "illegal." But Anderson said that doesn't matter.

"Yes, it was a bang-bang play ... but at the end of the day it was still illegal under the rules," Anderson said of Robinson's hit.

In other words, the NFL is far more concerned with taking the letter of the law (which is currently established under the league's rules) and making sure to enforce it.

" "We're not going to be apologetic, we're not going to be defensive about it," Anderson said.

That's not a surprising attitude from the NFL -- and in this situation, it's appropriate -- but the challenge won't come with the backlash towards the NFL's attitude. The problem will come with the backlash to the NFL's enforcement on and off the field for these hits.

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Posted on: October 19, 2010 12:26 am
Edited on: October 19, 2010 12:27 am

NFL will suspend players for dangerous plays

J. Cribbs sustained a concussion after his hit by Pittsburgh's J. Harrison Posted by Josh Katzowitz

The fallout from the violent hits on Browns WR Joshua Cribbs and WR Mohamed Massaquoi by Pittsburgh’s James Harrison and on Ravens TE Todd Heap by Patriots S Brandon Meriweather continues into today.

Ray Anderson, the NFL’s vice president of football operations told ESPN.com today that the league will start suspending for dangerous hits.

"We can't and won't tolerate what we saw Sunday," Anderson told Chris Mortensen. "We've got to get the message to players that these devastating hits and head shots will be met with a very necessary higher standard of accountability. We have to dispel the notion that you get one free pass in these egregious or flagrant shots.

"What we saw Sunday was disturbing," Anderson said. "We're talking about avoiding life-altering impacts."

In other dangerous hits news, Harrison didn’t show much contrition for the two hits. The league reviewed the Cribbs hit and determined it wasn’t an illegal hit (really, it almost seemed incidental. Sort of). I imagine the Massaquoi hit won’t be deemed a legal shot.

"I'm not worried about getting fined on that. Not at all," Harrison told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "If I get fined on that, it's got to be a travesty. They didn't call (penalties on the plays). There's no way I can be fined."

I think “no way I can be fined” is a little strong. I think he’ll definitely be fined for the Massaquoi hit, and honestly, I think he should be. 

And if you’re a Steelers official, you have to cringe when you read something like this.

"I don't want to injure anybody," Harrison said. "There's a big difference between being hurt and being injured. You get hurt, you shake it off and come back the next series or the next game. I try to hurt people.

"I thought Cribbs was asleep. A hit like that geeks you up, especially when you find out the guy is not really hurt, he's just sleeping. He's knocked out but he's going to be OK."

As for Meriweather, he was apologetic, but he didn’t regret the aggressiveness of the play.

I was playing aggressive and something happened,” Meriweather told WEII radio, via the Boston Herald. “I’m going to be aggressive. Point blank. I won’t change my game, period. I’m sorry it happened.”

Hey, at least he apologized for the result. Harrison thinks everything is right with the world. Until the NFL reaches into his wallet, of course. Or until he's suspended the next time.

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Posted on: September 19, 2010 4:05 pm
Edited on: September 19, 2010 4:05 pm

Heap reaches 5,000-yard mark

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

It doesn’t seem like Baltimore TE Todd Heap has been in the league that long – though that might not be what the Bengals or the Steelers players say. But then you look at his career stats, and you say, “My lord, he’s been in the NFL for 10 years?!?”

Yes, he made his debut in 2001, and since he joined the Ravens that season, he’s made at least 50 catches in five of those years.
And after catching a five-yard pass on an out route from Joe Flacco today as the Ravens tried to make a late fourth-quarter comeback against the Bengals, Heap landed right on the 5,000 receiving yard mark.

Heap was questionable entering today’s game, because of a strained shoulder. As late as Wednesday, Heap said he wasn’t sure he could play. But instead, there he was, reaching his milestone.

Among all the active tight ends playing today, Heap is the fifth one to reach the 5,000-yard mark.

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Posted on: September 6, 2010 11:32 am
Edited on: September 6, 2010 3:20 pm

Houshmandzadeh signs with Ravens

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Remember how we posted last night that former Seahawks WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh – he of the $7 million guarantee – likely would end up in Oakland or in Washington. Well, we were close. He’s going to Baltimore.

Adam Schefter of ESPN.com , who’s been on quite a tear the past couple days, is reporting Houshmandzadeh and the Ravens have reached agreement on a one-year deal that will pay him $855,000 (the Seahawks have to pay him the rest of his guaranteed money).

In an interesting twist, Houshmandzadeh will be on the field when New York Jets CB Darrelle Revis takes his first game action of the 2010 season Sept. 13. Anquan Boldin is Baltimore’s top WR, but Houshmandzadeh should fit in fine with reliable WR Derrick Mason and TE Todd Heap. I imagine Houshmandzadeh will take a good chunk of Mark Clayton’s work in those three-receiver packages.

This isn’t the fastest or the youngest WR corps in the NFL, but the Ravens front office has given QB Joe Flacco some pretty good weapons. Houshmandzadeh will add his specialty into the mix, making tough catches across the middle and grabbing receptions that give his team first downs.

UPDATE (1:02 P.M.): According to Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post , Clayton is on the trading block now. If the Ravens can't trade him, the plan is to release him.

UPDATE (1:25 p.m.): USA Today caught up with Houshmandzadeh, and the WR said LB Ray Lewis recruited him to the team to help the Ravens win the Super Bowl.

"Ray said, 'If you want to win, this is the place to be,''' Houshmandzadeh told the paper. "The way he is on the field is how he is off the field. Passionate. Our conversation was passionate and insightful.

"I know from competing againt those guys when I was in Cincinnati how it is in Baltimore.''

UPDATE (3:19 p.m.): Chris Mortensen of ESPN.com is reporting the Ravens have traded Clayton to the Rams for late-round draft pick considerations. St. Louis needs some help at WR, and now, the Rams have it. 

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Posted on: August 1, 2010 2:42 pm

A whole mess of Ravens news

After missing the first two days of Baltimore’s training camp, TE Todd Heap returned to the practice field today, passed his conditioning test and caught a couple TD passes. He’d been on the non-football illness list with a tonsil virus, but he came back today and performed well.

“I’m not 100 percent. I’m still fighting through it,” Heap said in quotes captured by the Baltimore Sun . “I felt good enough where I (could) go for it this morning. … It knocked me out. There were three or four nights where I couldn’t sleep. It was a battle.”

-After losing Domonique Foxworth to a torn ACL Thursday, drastically impacting the team’s already-thin CB corps, the Sun is reporting the team is having “dialogue” with free agent Frank Walker.

Considering Lardarius Webb and Fabian Washington are coming off injuries from last year, Baltimore needs to do something about its secondary. Chris Carr has worked with the first team lately in practice, but there’s a reason he’s much better known as a returner on special teams.

“Sure, Frank would have a shot,” Harbaugh told the paper. “Frank knows our scheme. He’s got some options, some teams he’s talking to right now. But he’s one guy of a lot of guys we’re looking at.

Walker played for Baltimore the previous two seasons, starting six of 29 games and recording two total interceptions.

-OT Jared Gaither hasn’t practice since Friday morning, and nobody seems to know why. Initially, Baltimore said he was suffering from cramps, but today Harbaugh said, “I’d like to be able to tell you what it is. I don’t know. He’s getting bloodwork, and they say they’re going to do some tests on him on Monday, and they’ll tell us what it is. That’s all they’ve told me.”

Gaither, it should be noted, reported at 311 pounds, almost 30 pounds less than where he played last season. Harbaugh said he wasn’t sure why.

--Josh Katzowitz

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com