Last week’s game between the Cleveland Browns and the Baltimore Ravens had a little bit of everything.
While the game ultimately concluded with a game-winning field goal off the foot of Browns kicker Dustin Hopkins, the victory was bittersweet.
In addition to the Browns losing starting quarterback Deshaun Watson to a season-ending shoulder injury, they had another injury scare with cornerback Denzel Ward.
Ward, a perennial Pro Bowler and one of the best defensive backs in the league was in the process of making a tackle when Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Ronnie Stanley delivered a sharp blow to Ward’s head and neck area.
While Stanley’s play didn’t draw a penalty at the time, NFL officials later determined that the hit was illegal and would warrant a hefty fine to the tune of $21,855 (via Fred Greetham.)
NFL fined Ravens Ronnie Stanley $21,855 for unnecessary roughness in knocking #Browns CB Denzel Ward out of last week's game with a neck injury.
— Fred Greetham (@FredGreetham9) November 18, 2023
Following the hit, Ward left the game in the first quarter to be evaluated for a concussion and a neck injury, and he remained out for the rest of the contest.
However, he has been a full participant at practice for both Thursday and Friday and is expected to suit up today against the Steelers.
When asked about the hit, Ward didn’t hold back and said that he felt it was a cheap shot, seeing as the play was all but over and Stanley blindsided him.
His teammate and fellow defensive back Grant Delpit, took things one step further and said that there’s no room in the NFL for that type of play.
While officials at the time missed the illegal hit by Stanley, they got it right after the fact in giving him a much-deserved fine.