OWINGS MILLS — The Baltimore Ravens aren’t anticipating that middle linebacker Ray Lewis will be punished for his crushing helmet-to-helmet hit on Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco.
Lewis was flagged for an unnecessary roughness penalty as he struck a defenseless, airborne Ochocinco by launching himself and knocked off the receiver’s helmet, giving his friend a mark around his eye.
"There’s a strike zone, so to speak," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "It’s basically below the neck and above the knees. I don’t expect there to be any repercussions from that.
"Watching it on TV, I think it was in the strike zone. I think that’s something that I’m sure they’ll take a look at and we’ll find out and see. As far as the game, that’s a tough call to make either way."
Last year, New York Jets safety Eric Smith was suspended for one game and fined $50,000 for a brutal hit on Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Anquan Boldin where Boldin suffered facial fractures.
At the time, the league office characterized that play as a flagrant violation of the player safety rulebook.
If Ochocinco’s opinion counts, then Lewis might not be fined.
Via his Twitter account, Ochocinco lobbied NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell not to fine Lewis.
"Please don’t fine Ray Lewis Mr. Roger Goodell," Ochocinco wrote. "It was a clean hit, it’s part of the game, save the fines for me."
Fines of this type are actually presided over by NFL vice president of football operations Ray Anderson.
INJURY UPDATE: Offensive tackle Jared Gaither was originally forecasted to miss two to three weeks with a neck injury, but the Ravens are optimistic that he might be able to return this week after being held out against the Bengals.
"We think he’s got a real good chance to play," Harbaugh said. "He’s a lot better now than he was going into the game on Sunday."
Meanwhile, there’s nothing new with cornerback Samari Rolle’s situation. Rolle is still recovering from surgery to address a bulging disc in his neck and remains on the physically unable to perform list.
Rolle has been pondering whether it’s too risky for him to play again. He’s eligible to begin practicing next week, but it doesn’t appear likely that he’ll return this season.
"I saw him in the building and that will be a report from the doctors that we will look forward to get," Harbaugh said. "So, we’ll see how he’s doing."
UNDER REVIEW: The Ravens plan to turn in a bad spot to the league office.
Following wide receiver Mark Clayton’s down-by-contact reception was upheld by officials after the Bengals asked for a review of whether it was a fumble, the officials inexplicably moved the football back to the Ravens’ 20-yard line instead of the 25-yard line where Clayton was signaled down.
"We started at the 21, the play went to the 25, that’s where the ruling was made, and then we got the ball back at the 20," Harbaugh said. "And then they had a penalty. It would have ended up being third-and-5 instead of third-and-10.
“That was something we’ll send in. I’m sure they’ll say they messed up on it, and it was unfortunate, I guess, that in all the chaos, nobody caught it."
The Ravens are still seeking an explanation for why defensive end Trevor Pryce was flagged for an illegal formation infraction for lining up over Bengals long snapper Brad St. Louis.
"We know it’s a rule, and I haven’t seen it called," Harbaugh said. "And we’re very vigilant about the way we line up over the center."
TRYOUT: The Ravens tried out veteran wide receivers David Tyree and Ronald Curry on Monday, but neither player was immediately signed.
A former Super Bowl hero with the New York Giants, Tyree tried out for the Ravens earlier this season. However he wasn’t completely healthy even though he passed his physical.
Tyree is scheduled to try out for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers today.
Curry was cut by the St. Louis Rams after being traded by the Detroit Lion earlier this year. He caught 19 passes for the Oakland Raiders last season.
PRAISED: Rookie offensive tackle Michael Oher graded out well in his first start at left tackle.
"I thought Michael Oher played well," Harbaugh said. "A couple of plays he’d like to have back and play better, he’d be the first to tell you that. Plenty of plays he played well."
Outside linebacker Jarret Johnson had a particularly strong game against the Bengals with a sack and six tackles.
"He’s played great," Harbaugh said. "He’s been one of our most steady players. He plays hard. He’s always getting pressure on the quarterback. He’s tremendous against the run whether he’s over a tight end or off the ball and he’s really solid in pass coverage. He’s just a well-rounded player."
QUICK HITS: Harbaugh explained why Chris Carr returned the final kickoff of the game instead of rookie Lardarius Webb, who lined up ahead of him. "We were kind of expecting a squib kick," he said. "We had those two guys positioned for the type of kick we expected, and they kicked it away." … Harbaugh had little interest in discussing Carr’s claim that his facemask was grabbed and that he was thrown down by Andre Caldwell on the game-winning touchdown pass. "We look at all that stuff and there were plenty of things we saw in all those situations," he said. "Does it matter right now? Does it matter whether Chris Carr was grabbed? It doesn’t matter." … Harbaugh also didn’t want to discuss whether the Bengals have improved defensively. "How much better the Bengals are, what do we care?" he said. "The Bengals were good enough to beat us on Sunday, and we weren’t good enough to score enough points to beat them." … Harbaugh delivered a funny line about Minnesota Vikings coach Brad Childress, his former colleague with the Philadelphia Eagles. "He’s a heck of a coach and he’s got a nice beard," Harbaugh said. "I want to have a beard like that. I’m not striving for the hair."
Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times and the Annapolis Capital.