Harbaugh fined $15,000 for touching NFL official Sunday

Ravens assistant will be subject to NFL's personal conduct policy over DUI arrest

September 21, 2010|By The Baltimore Sun

The NFL fined Ravens coach John Harbaugh $15,000 for impermissible verbal and physical contact with an official during Sunday's 15-10 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, an NFL spokesman said Tuesday.

Harbaugh hit line judge Ron Marinucci in the chest when he was demonstrating how outside linebacker Terrell Suggs legally hit Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer in the "strike zone" in the fourth quarter of Sunday's contest.

A team spokesman said Harbaugh would address the matter Wednesday, but Harbaugh acknowledged Monday that he went a little too far in trying to demonstrate what Suggs did in the coach's conversation with Marinucci after the call.

"He's one of the best in the league," Harbaugh said of Marinucci. "He's really talented. I was a little animated in describing the strike zone, I think, and I think he understood the emotions of it. And I'll make sure that I let him know that I think I was over the line in my animation – without question. That's something you never want to do. The point is, we had great conversations with those guys throughout the game. We disagreed and it was animated, but it was respectful throughout. I know that Ron understood that."

The league has emphasized to both coaches and players that officials are not to be touched. Last season, Oakland Raiders tight end Tony Stewart got hit with a $25,000 fine for touching an official, and Denver Broncos wide receiver Brandon Stokley was fined $20,000 for making contact with an official while arguing for a pass interference call.

This is not the first time the Ravens have been fined by the NFL for touching officials. In 2005, Suggs was ejected after his face mask touched a referee's cap in a contest against the Detroit Lions. In that same game, free safety Ed Reed grabbed and shoved another official. Both players were docked $15,000 each for making contact.

NFL will review Moeller case

Andy Moeller, a Ravens assistant offensive line coach, will be subject to the NFL's personal conduct policy following his arrest Saturday morning for driving under the influence of alcohol. Moeller was stopped by a state trooper on the outer loop of the beltway at Greenspring Ave., according to state police spokesman Greg Shipley.

Moeller, who police said showed signs of being impaired, will enter a not guilty plea, attorney Andrew I. Alperstein said Monday.

"My client's postion is that we're going to review the evidence and decide how to proceed," Alperstein said.

In an e-mail to The Baltimore Sun, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello wrote that Moeller's case will be reviewed under the league's personal conduct policy "in conjuction with the club."

In July, Detroit Lions president Tom Lewand was suspended 30 days and fined $100,000 by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell after pleading guilty to driving while impaired.

Court records show Moeller, of Owings Mills, was charged in May with four counts, including driving while under the influence and negligent driving, and was acquitted in late August. The Ravens said they knew about the prior Maryland arrest but would not comment further.

The two arrests in Maryland followed an incident in Ann Arbor, Mich., in December 2007. Moeller, a former assistant at the University of Michigan, was charged with failing to stop his vehicle after an accident, driving under the influence of alcohol and refusing to take a field sobriety test. The DUI charge was later reduced to driving while visibly impaired.

Moeller was given a year's probation, ordered to continue alcohol counseling at an aftercare facility and attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. He completed his probation "with improvement", according to Michigan state records. He was hired by the Ravens prior to the 2008 season. Moeller was a teammate of Jim Harbaugh, the older brother of Ravens coach John Harbaugh, with the Wolverines.

Williams addresses suspension

Ravens cornerback Cary Williams said Tuesday he was humbled by the NFL suspension that sidelined him the first two games of the season, and that he is eager to win back his spot on the roster.

Williams was eligible on Monday to return to the Ravens' facility after serving a two-game suspension for an off-field incident that occurred while he played with the Tennessee Titans.

"It taught me humility and that things could be taken away from me," he said of the time away from the team.

"It helped me understand I have to be wiser in my decisions. I learned it is a blessing, an opportunity and a privilege to play here. I don't want to misuse it at all. I want to play here and establish myself."

Williams, 25, participated in a brief practice on Monday, and went to the facility on Tuesday to study film. He will participate in his first full-speed practice on Wednesday, when the team prepares for Sunday's game against the Cleveland Browns.

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