The NFL has supported the contention of the officiating crew which ruled that Rolando McClain committed no foul on his knockout hit on San Diego running back Darren Sproles Sunday.
McClain unleashed a devastating blow on Sproles, who left with a concussion late in the first half after a 7-yard gain.
Some Chargers players said afterward they thought Sproles had been the victim of a helmet-to-helmet blow, although replays seemed to indicate McClain had delivered the punishment with his shoulder. CBS analyst Dan Fouts said as much on the air.
Not that it mattered, according to the pool report which quoted referee John Parry as saying, “We had three guys looking at it, the back judge, field judge, line judge. All three felt that (Sproles) gained possession, took a minimum of three steps and now he is considered a runner so helmet-to-helmet contact is off.”
Parry also said, “You can’t hit helmet-to-helmet on a defenseless player. He was not considered defenseless. He was considered a runner because the act of possession was complete the minimum of there steps were taken, so now he is deemed a runner so helmet-to-helmet contact is legal.”
The e-mail response from Corry Rush of the NFL office was as follows: “Legal hit. We support the pool report.”
Justice is served. A Raiders linebacker came up and delivered a clean, legal and punishing hit that removed a key Chargers player from the game.
Good to know it’s still within the rules.
If McClain had been fined, I would have been as confused as when officials rule on who has actually caught or failed to catch a pass in the end zone.