OWINGS MILLS — Baltimore Ravens All-Pro middle linebacker Ray Lewis was fined $5,000 by the league office for his helmet-to-helmet hit on Indianapolis Colts rookie wide receiver Austin Collie, according to an NFL spokesman.
Lewis broke up a potential touchdown pass with a big hit on Collie in the end zone during the Ravens’ 20-3 AFC divisional playoff loss.
However, he was flagged for unnecessary roughness as referee Carl Cheffers characterized the contact as “a blow to a defenseless receiver.”
On the play (video below), Lewis’ helmet struck Collie’s helmet when the receiver lowered his body to protect himself. Lewis was already airborne at the time.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh had predicted that Lewis wouldn’t be fined.
“It was not a cheap shot,” Harbaugh said. “I had a chance to look at all those plays, obviously. That was a good, hard football tackle, and Ray Lewis made a perfect form tackle. The receiver caught the ball, was going to protect himself and dropped his head to a certain level that was below his shoulder pad level after Ray had committed to the tackle.
“At that point in time, you’re committed to the tackle. You’re not going to stop. You can’t stop in mid-air. It’s not humanly possible. So when he went in to make that play, he was definitely in the strike zone. The player ducked and got hit in the head. That’s how I saw it.”
Meanwhile, the Ravens have signed four players to reserve/future contracts for their offseason roster.
The Ravens signed fullback Charles Ali, who was briefly with the team last season and has previous stints with the Cleveland Brown and in the UFL, as well as former University of Cincinnati center Digger Bujnoch and former University of Colorado center Daniel Sanders.
Hannon tried out for the Ravens last summer when they also auditioned wide receivers Drew Bennett, D.J. Hackett and Justin Brown.