Ravens Notebook

Bernard Pollard fined $10,000, Ayanbadejo not fined

OWINGS MILLS – Baltimore Ravens Pro Bowl special-teams ace and linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo avoided any punishment from the NFL stemming from his ejection for punching Jacksonville Jaguars offensive tackle Guy Whimper. However, Ravens safety Bernard Pollard wasn't so fortunate. He was fined $10,000 for unnecessary roughness for his devastating hit on Jaguars running back Deji Karim during the Ravens' 12-7 loss Monday night, according to an NFL spokesman. "Specifically, on a pass play, he struck a defenseless player in the head and neck area," AFC spokesman Corry Rush wrote Scout in an e-mail.

Pollard is expected to appeal the fine, which was triggered by his hit on an unsuspecting Karim and was characterized as a helmet-to-helmet hit. Although television replays showed that Pollard did lead with his shoulder, the contact was high and part of his facemask brushed against Karim's facemask.

"With these rules they're putting in, you're going to get guys hurt because now when you tell a guy, ‘We know you can't hit in the head, but don't hit in the chest either,' what everybody is going to start doing is going after people's knees because you've got to bring them down some way, somehow," Pollard said prior to being fined. "When you get those hits on the knees, you're going to have some guys going out. Are they going to make this flag football?

"We all know and understand that we cannot take the face shots because you've got the concussions and everything else, but you can't shut us off and tell us that we can't hit the chest or we can't lean in with our shoulder and hit them in the shoulder or chest."

Pollard has built a reputation for crushing hits, which follows him from his days with the Houston Texans and the Kansas City Chiefs. Nicknamed the "Bonecrusher," Pollard said he has no intentions of changing his rugged approach to football.

"I know how to tackle.," he said. "At the end of the day, the league is trying to protect players. At the same time, this is a sport that's violent. You can't say, 'Well, go get in a car crash, but be careful.' You can't do that. So, we all know and understand this is a car wreck every single play.

"We know how to take care of our bodies as far as what's a violent shot and what's a necessary violent shot. Football is football. If you ask me to go do it again this Sunday, I'm doing the same thing. So, they're either going to keep flagging us or they're going to have to do something about this rule."

Ejections traditionally trigger an automatic $50,000 fine from the league office, but Ayanbadejo was told Friday by coach John Harbaugh that the NFL has no plans to fine him for hitting Whimper and that he shouldn't have been kicked out of the game. Ayanbadejo retaliated after being roughed up first by Whimper.

"I feel somewhat vindicated about it, I'm definitely happy," Ayanbadejo said. "I was expecting that $50,000 fine, so I'm glad that didn't happen. The NFL doesn't want to have problems on the field. They worry about the integrity on the field. I'm glad it didn't affect the team. Coach Harbaugh told me that the NFL is going to have disciplinary action on the other guy."

Adam Heller, the agent for Ayanbadejo, indicated in a text message that Whimper hasn't been informed of any discipline pending or otherwise from the league.

"I'm glad it's over with and not hanging over my head anymore," Ayanbadejo said. "I just wish we had won the football game."

INJURY UPDATES: The Ravens will have star free safety Ed Reed on the field Friday to square off with Arizona Cardinals All-Pro wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald.

Reed is listed as probable on the injury report, returning to practice on a limited basis Friday after suffering a neck stinger against the Jaguars. "I'm fine," Reed said after practice. "Yeah, he'll be able to play," Harbaugh said. And safety Tom Zbikowski, who has been replaced in the starting lineup by Pollard, has been cleared for contact following a concussion sustained against the New York Jets.

Zbikowski is expected to play on special teams and in a reserve defensive role. Meanwhile, the Ravens ruled out offensive guard Ben Grubbs for the sixth game in a row with a right turf toe injury.

And wide receiver Lee Evans was ruled out for the fifth consecutive game due to a lingering left ankle injury incurred during the preseason. The Ravens also ruled out linebacker Dannell Ellerbe (hamstrings, groin) and rookie running back Anthony Allen (thigh). Cornerback Chris Carr (left hamstring) is probable. Cornerback Danny Gorrer is questionable with a thigh injury. Cornerback Chykie Brown (illness) is probable. The Ravens haven't listed linebacker Prescott Burgess on the injury report, but he has been getting his left elbow wrapped all week in practice.

HEAP IS QUESTIONABLE: Former Ravens tight end Todd Heap is questionable with a strained hamstring, and has been practicing on a limited basis.

Sidelined for the past two games, Heap has caught 13 passes for 150 yards in two starts after being cut by the Ravens due to a $4.6 million salary-cap figure. The Ravens also wanted to increase playing time for Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta, who have combined for 32 receptions for 328 yards and one touchdown this season.

"We appreciate everything Todd did here over a long period of time," Harbaugh said. " Obviously, the three years that I had a chance to be associated with him, I couldn't have been more impressed. The whole 10 years here were great for the city and great for the Ravens."

It's unclear if Heap will be able to play this game, but he's trying to make his return. "I'm taking it day to day right now," Heap told Arizona reporters. "I'm hoping I'll be ready." The Cardinals ruled out safety Kerry Rhodes (foot).

Outside linebacker Joey Porter (knee), running back Beanie Wells (knee), wide receiver Early Doucet (quadriceps), tight end Jim Dray (pectoral) and wide receiver DeMarco Sampson (hamstring) are all questionable. Wells is regarded as a game-time decision.

HOME-FIELD ADVANTAGE: The Ravens have won 13 of their last 14 home games and are 22-5 at home under Harbaugh.OWINGS MILLS – Baltimore Ravens Pro Bowl special-teams ace and linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo avoided any punishment from the NFL stemming from his ejection for punching Jacksonville Jaguars offensive tackle Guy Whimper. However, Ravens safety Bernard Pollard wasn't so fortunate. He was fined $10,000 for unnecessary roughness for his devastating hit on Jaguars running back Deji Karim during the Ravens' 12-7 loss Monday night, according to an NFL spokesman. "Specifically, on a pass play, he struck a defenseless player in the head and neck area," AFC spokesman Corry Rush wrote Scout in an e-mail.

Pollard is expected to appeal the fine, which was triggered by his hit on an unsuspecting Karim and was characterized as a helmet-to-helmet hit. Although television replays showed that Pollard did lead with his shoulder, the contact was high and part of his facemask brushed against Karim's facemask.

"With these rules they're putting in, you're going to get guys hurt because now when you tell a guy, ‘We know you can't hit in the head, but don't hit in the chest either,' what everybody is going to start doing is going after people's knees because you've got to bring them down some way, somehow," Pollard said prior to being fined. "When you get those hits on the knees, you're going to have some guys going out. Are they going to make this flag football?

"We all know and understand that we cannot take the face shots because you've got the concussions and everything else, but you can't shut us off and tell us that we can't hit the chest or we can't lean in with our shoulder and hit them in the shoulder or chest."

Pollard has built a reputation for crushing hits, which follows him from his days with the Houston Texans and the Kansas City Chiefs. Nicknamed the "Bonecrusher," Pollard said he has no intentions of changing his rugged approach to football.

"I know how to tackle.," he said. "At the end of the day, the league is trying to protect players. At the same time, this is a sport that's violent. You can't say, 'Well, go get in a car crash, but be careful.' You can't do that. So, we all know and understand this is a car wreck every single play.

"We know how to take care of our bodies as far as what's a violent shot and what's a necessary violent shot. Football is football. If you ask me to go do it again this Sunday, I'm doing the same thing. So, they're either going to keep flagging us or they're going to have to do something about this rule."

Ejections traditionally trigger an automatic $50,000 fine from the league office, but Ayanbadejo was told Friday by coach John Harbaugh that the NFL has no plans to fine him for hitting Whimper and that he shouldn't have been kicked out of the game. Ayanbadejo retaliated after being roughed up first by Whimper.

"I feel somewhat vindicated about it, I'm definitely happy," Ayanbadejo said. "I was expecting that $50,000 fine, so I'm glad that didn't happen. The NFL doesn't want to have problems on the field. They worry about the integrity on the field. I'm glad it didn't affect the team. Coach Harbaugh told me that the NFL is going to have disciplinary action on the other guy."

Adam Heller, the agent for Ayanbadejo, indicated in a text message that Whimper hasn't been informed of any discipline pending or otherwise from the league.

"I'm glad it's over with and not hanging over my head anymore," Ayanbadejo said. "I just wish we had won the football game."

INJURY UPDATES: The Ravens will have star free safety Ed Reed on the field Friday to square off with Arizona Cardinals All-Pro wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald.

Reed is listed as probable on the injury report, returning to practice on a limited basis Friday after suffering a neck stinger against the Jaguars.

"I'm fine," Reed said after practice. "Yeah, he'll be able to play," Harbaugh said. And safety Tom Zbikowski, who has been replaced in the starting lineup by Pollard, has been cleared for contact following a concussion sustained against the New York Jets. Zbikowski is expected to play on special teams and in a reserve defensive role.

Meanwhile, the Ravens ruled out offensive guard Ben Grubbs for the sixth game in a row with a right turf toe injury.

And wide receiver Lee Evans was ruled out for the fifth consecutive game due to a lingering left ankle injury incurred during the preseason. The Ravens also ruled out linebacker Dannell Ellerbe (hamstrings, groin) and rookie running back Anthony Allen (thigh). Cornerback Chris Carr (left hamstring) is probable. Cornerback Danny Gorrer is questionable with a thigh injury.

Cornerback Chykie Brown (illness) is probable. The Ravens haven't listed linebacker Prescott Burgess on the injury report, but he has been getting his left elbow wrapped all week in practice.

HEAP IS QUESTIONABLE: Former Ravens tight end Todd Heap is questionable with a strained hamstring, and has been practicing on a limited basis.

Sidelined for the past two games, Heap has caught 13 passes for 150 yards in two starts after being cut by the Ravens due to a $4.6 million salary-cap figure.

The Ravens also wanted to increase playing time for Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta, who have combined for 32 receptions for 328 yards and one touchdown this season.

"We appreciate everything Todd did here over a long period of time," Harbaugh said. " Obviously, the three years that I had a chance to be associated with him, I couldn't have been more impressed. The whole 10 years here were great for the city and great for the Ravens." It's unclear if Heap will be able to play this game, but he's trying to make his return.

"I'm taking it day to day right now," Heap told Arizona reporters. "I'm hoping I'll be ready." The Cardinals ruled out safety Kerry Rhodes (foot).

Outside linebacker Joey Porter (knee), running back Beanie Wells (knee), wide receiver Early Doucet (quadriceps), tight end Jim Dray (pectoral) and wide receiver DeMarco Sampson (hamstring) are all questionable. Wells is regarded as a game-time decision.

HOME-FIELD ADVANTAGE: The Ravens have won 13 of their last 14 home games and are 22-5 at home under Harbaugh.

The Ravens are 68-23 at home since the 2000 season, the second-best home record during that span behind the New England Patriots (72-19). The Cardinals have lost their past 10 road games, a streak that began after beating the St. Louis Rams in their season-opener last year.

"It's always great to be at home," Harbaugh said. "The thing about this league, and especially the top places to play, which our place is one of them, it makes a difference. Obviously, that's going to be big for us. I'm sure the crowd will be riled up and ready to go. That's what they do. I think we've got the best crowd in football, I really do. I really enjoy being a part of that whole atmosphere with our crowd, with our fans. The Ravens are 68-23 at home since the 2000 season, the second-best home record during that span behind the New England Patriots (72-19). The Cardinals have lost their past 10 road games, a streak that began after beating the St. Louis Rams in their season-opener last year.

"It's always great to be at home," Harbaugh said. "The thing about this league, and especially the top places to play, which our place is one of them, it makes a difference. Obviously, that's going to be big for us. I'm sure the crowd will be riled up and ready to go. That's what they do. I think we've got the best crowd in football, I really do. I really enjoy being a part of that whole atmosphere with our crowd, with our fans.

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