We discussed the Ryan Clark hit on Willis McGahee on this week's podcast, and Catfish had some differing opinions than the NFL on when and where violent hits are and are not acceptable. The league will not fine or discipline Clark in any way. From CBSSports.com Clark Judge:
"There will be no fine for Pittsburgh's Ryan Clark for his hit on Baltimore running back Willis McGahee. I spoke today with Mike Pereira, the league's vice president of officiating, and he said that once McGahee caught the ball and headed upfield he no longer was subject to the rules that protect quarterbacks or wide receivers in vulnerable positions. Yes, Pereira said, the hit was a helmet-to-helmet collision, but that's a penalty or finable offense only when it happens to quarterbacks in the throwing position or wide receivers who are unprotected while trying to catch the football. McGahee, he said, no longer was a receiver in a vulnerable position once he turned and headed upfield. Hence, the hit was legal."
So basically a quarterback or 'vunerable' receivers cannot take possibly debilitating helmet-to-helmet hits that could severly injure them, but if the player already caught the ball it is fine. As we mentioned on the Shackleford Files, it is our thought that these type of hits need to be limited across the board because this is what can happen. Clark himself was out of it from the hit. This is not an indictment of Clark, who I believe is not a dirty player but needs to hit less with his head. Clark does not deserve a suspension, but a fine for leading with the hardest part of your equipment that is covering your brain should not be out of the question either. McGahee harbors no ill will toward Clark and neither do we but the NFL needs to protect all players from unnecessary head injuries.