Billick predicts NFL will fine players

OWINGS MILLS -- The NFL is reviewing the actions of Baltimore Ravens rush end Terrell Suggs and safety B.J. Ward after they were ejected for making contact with officials during Sunday's loss to the Detroit Lions. "Improper contact is reviewed for disciplinary action," league spokesman Greg Aiello said Monday. Fines typically are announced later in the week.

The Ravens were flagged for a franchise-record 21 penalties, one shy of the NFL record shared by three teams.

Suggs' face mask appeared to graze referee Mike Carey's cap and he was immediately tossed after vehemently arguing a roughing-the-passer flag that appeared valid. Suggs hit Lions quarterback Joey Harrington a few moments after he threw a pass.

Ward was thrown out while trying to hold back safety Ed Reed from going after Lions tight end Casey FitzSimmons. Ward said he never touched the official, and it looked like he didn't. Reed was apparently upset about FitzSimmons going after his knees and pointed a finger in his face.

Ravens coach Brian Billick, who said he doesn't plan to fine his players on top of any league discipline, predicted there will be hefty financial ramifications.
"The rationale is that the individuals involved feel bad and are punishing themselves," Billick said. "Believe me, when the league fines them it will be substantial. If I thought that an internal monetary sanction against them would suffice or help, I would do it in a New York second. My experience is that it does not.

"If they are not remorseful on their own regardless of whether the league fines them a penny or whether they fine them hundreds of thousands of dollars, if they don't internalize the culpability, then we are no better than we were."

While Billick said he was highly disappointed with several calls, he said he doesn't believe that Carey's crew was predisposed to penalize the Ravens after Suggs' ejection.

As for the future, though, Billick said his team will have to prove that it can temper its emotions to avoid scrutiny from the men in black-and-white stripes.
"If it set a temperament with regards to the attitude about this team, we're going to see it continually until we show we can conduct ourselves in a way otherwise," Billick said.

Meanwhile, the Ravens, particularly All-Pro middle linebacker Ray Lewis, continue to dance after plays even while trailing on the scoreboard. Billick said he has no plans to put a stop to those individual celebrations.

"There are a lot of things as a coach personally I may or may not like or personally do, but you have to be very careful about inhibiting the passion for this game in an arbitrary way," Billick said. "I've got a very diverse group of players economically, socially, racially, geographically with a number of different upbringings. You've got to find joy in what you do or you will not last in this game.

"I can't have a bunch of robots. I can't dictate to a group of 53 individuals that they show their passion and love for the game in a very narrow, rigid perspective of a 51-year-old man. I have to be open and more receptive to that."

NOTES: Billick was complimentary of defensive tackle Dwan Edwards, who played extensively for the first time this season Sunday. Last year's second-round draft pick was credited with a career-high seven tackles. "Dwan did very well for a first outing," Billick said. "We need to expand on that and he needs to expand on it, but I was very pleased." ... Billick said he isn't discouraged despite his team's 1-3 start, the worst in the franchise's 10-year history. "Disappointed, anxious, frustrated, sure, but no more than the players," he said. "Discouraged isn't part of my perspective."

In addition to being a long time contributor to RavensInsider, Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times in Westminster Maryland.

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