OWINGS MILLS — Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh has been fined $15,000 by the NFL for impermissible verbal and physical contact with an official, according to a league spokesman.
Harbaugh made contact with line judge Ron Marinucci in the chest while demonstrating with his hand where outside linebacker Terrell Suggs hit Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer during a questionable roughing-the-passer penalty in Sunday’s 15-10 road loss.
“My daughter when she heard about it thought it was harsher than being benched at recess for 10 minutes,” Harbaugh said Tuesday night during his weekly radio show. “I’m disappointed. I tried to express to the league that I’ve been working with Ron for 13 years and we have a very good relationship. I really like and respect him, and I think he likes and respects me.
“I felt a little more comfortable with him in expressing myself. No doubt about it, you can’t touch an official. I respect the rules, and I agree with them and I have no problem with it.”
During his Monday press conference, Harbaugh acknowledged that he crossed the line during his heated discussion with Marinucci.
“I was a little animated in describing the strike zone, and I think he understood the emotions of it,” Harbaugh said. “I’ll make sure that I let him know that I think I was over the line in my animation without question, and that’s never something you want to do.
"And the point is we had great conversations with those guys throughout the game. We disagreed and it was animated, but it was respectful throughout. And I know Ron understood that it was respectful, so it should be OK.”
Meanwhile, former NFL vice president of officiating Mike Pereira said that he believes the officials made an error in judgment.
"While referees are instructed to err on the side of safety when it comes to protecting the quarterback, I feel the call was incorrect," Pereira said on FOX. "Suggs made a form tackle on Palmer. And while he did land on top of him, he did not appear to unnecessarily or violently throw the quarterback down and land on top of him with most or all of his weight, which is what the rule states. I can see why the referee made the call that he did, but to me, it was a normal tackle and not a foul."
Harbaugh emphasized Monday that he feels that All-Pro middle linebacker Ray Lewis, who was flagged for tripping Palmer when he appeared to be blocked into the quarterback, and Suggs shouldn’t have been flagged.
Both penalties led to field goals in the narrow defeat.
“You try to coach your guys to do things, from a technique standpoint, correctly,” Harbaugh said. “There’s no corrections that you can make in those two penalties. Those guys did exactly what they were asked to do within the rules of the game. I thought they did it perfectly.
"Ray got cut, he was going 100 miles an hour, he got cut, he was rolling on the ground, his legs were on the ground when Carson tripped. What am I going to tell Ray as a coach? Terrell wrapped up the quarterback and tackled him. That’s what we coach our guys to do. They did exactly what we coach them to do, and you just move on from there. You can’t control the rest of it.”
The Ravens plan to submit film of those calls to gain an understanding of what happened.
“I think the league does a good job,” Harbaugh said. “I think they work really hard to make us understand what the officials are looking at and all that stuff. They do the best they can with it. It’s a tough job. It’s not easy. We just move on. It’s not something that we’re going to sit there and worry about. They’ll do the best they can to get better, and we’ll do the best we can to get better.”
Suggs was flagged last year for grazing the leg of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady during a regular-season loss. The three-time Pro Bowl pass rusher said he has no intentions of changing his style.
“Absolutely,” Suggs said after the game. “The NFL are going to do their best to protect the guys that pay their bills, which is the quarterbacks. Maybe if it was a lesser quarterback, that call don’t get thrown.