Rice fined $7,500 for stiff arm; will appeal

Every week, you hear about defensive players getting fined for late hits, helmet-to-helmet contact, hitting a defenseless receiver or countless other infractions.

You almost never hear about an offensive player getting fined for a stiff arm.

Unfortunately for Ray Rice, he’s one of the few.

Rice said on 105.7 The Fan that he has been fined $7,500 for a stiff arm that turned into a grab of the facemask during the Ravens’ Week 3 win over the Rams. Video of the play can be found here. The Ravens’ running back has said he will appeal the fine.

Ironically, Rice wasn’t flagged on the play in question; in fact, Rams cornerback Bradley Fletcher was penalized for a facemask infraction of his own. But while Fletcher’s facemask drew a flag, Rice’s facemask has drawn a hefty bill.

Rice was not available for comment today, so head coach John Harbaugh addressed the situation.

“The stiff arm is legal,” Harbaugh said. “You can’t grab and twist the facemask, which I didn’t really see on that play. I didn’t realize he got fined for that until you just mentioned it. I haven’t seen that yet. I’m sure he’ll be appealing that, for sure.”

As pointed out by ProFootballTalk.com, fines on offensive players for facemask penalties are rare, but they have happened a few times in recent years. The Bears’ Devin Hester was fined in 2008, Vikings quarterback Joe Webb drew a fine last year and Cowboys receiver Kevin Ogletree was docked $7,500 for a facemask violation in September.

Still, it’s a surprise to see Rice get penalized by the league office. We’ll see how the appeals process works out.

This is now the second member of the Ravens’ offense to get fined recently; center Matt Birk was docked $5,000 for removing a microphone inside his pads prior to the Ravens’ Week 4 game against the Jets.

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