Strong safety T.J. Ward revealed today that the NFL has fined him $25,000 for his hit on Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Kevin Ogletree late in the fourth quarter of the Browns’ 23-20 overtime loss on Sunday.
Ward said he will appeal the fine. He received a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty for the hit during the drive on which the Cowboys tied the score with two seconds remaining and forced overtime via Dan Bailey’s 32-yard field goal.
Ogletree suffered a concussion and has been ruled out for the Cowboys’ game Thursday against the Washington Redskins. Browns cornerback Buster Skrine also suffered a concussion during the play when he collided with Ogletree a split-second after Ward delivered his blow. Skrine has not practiced since.
Ward, though, believes the hit was clean.
“I think it was completely legal,” Ward said. “I aimed for his chest, I hit him in his chest, he was falling forward. No part of my helmet hit his helmet. No part of my shoulder pad hit his helmet. If it did at any part, it was probably the aftereffect or the end of the hit. But I think it was just a blown call and a blown punishment.”
Browns defensive coordinator Dick Jauron defended Ward and said he would tell him to just keep doing what he’s doing.
“I saw the replays multiple times,” Jauron said. I didn’t see any head-to-head contact on that play. I don’t know if anybody else did. So I don’t what you tell him. I think maybe, I don’t know, they have to figure it out. But I don’t know what you tell a defensive player today.
“The quarterbacks throw them into tough spots. Maybe they should stop the quarterback from throwing the ball in those spots. You know put some of the onus on the offense occasionally.”