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Cincinnati wideout Chad Ochocinco does not think that Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis’ brutal hit in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 17-14 Bengals win should be a fineable offense.
Neither does Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh.
And the pair expressed their thoughts on Monday in decidedly different manners.
The loquacious Ochocinco took to Twitter, writing directly to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
“please don’t fine Ray Lewis Mr. Roger Goodell, it was a clean hit, it’s part of the game, save the fines for me, Esteban out,” Ochocinco tweeted.
Harbaugh explained that he saw the hit, which came as Ochocinco was running across the middle and Lewis popped him so hard his helmet flew off, landed in the “strike zone” between the knees and neck.
“Watching it on TV, I think it was in the strike zone [which is below the neck and above the knees],” Harbaugh said in his weekly press conference. “But I’m sure that is something [the NFL] will take look at and we’ll find and see. As far as the game, that’s a tough call to make either way.”
Considering that I was literally 20 yards away from the hit, I cringed when the two collided.
A packed M&T Bank Stadium immediately cheered, but those celebrations soon turned into groans as an official pulled out his yellow hanky for a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty.
Lewis was not in the post-game locker room to comment, so I’ll leave it up to Ochocinco.
“It was a good hit, but I think he should have just pushed me down instead of hitting me, because I was in mid-air and I had no way of protecting myself,” Ocho said. “But it was a good play by him.”
It was not a good play for the Ravens.
Lewis’s flag, one of 10 on the day and three on the final drive, moved the Bengals from the 50-yard line to the 35 and helped set up quarterback Carson Palmer’s game-winning touchdown pass to Andre Caldwell with 27 seconds remaining.
Afterwards, the Bengals had no complaints.
“It’s just unfortunate that they came at the end of the game,” Ochocinco said of the late penalties. “It was a situation where when we needed them the most. But I wouldn’t call it over-aggressive.”
The brash Ochocinco had said earlier in the week that he was going to punch Lewis in the mouth, but it seems like the opposite was true.