The Sunday stomp by center Dominic Raiola of the Detroit Lions has drawn a one-game suspension from the NFL for repeated violations of player safety rules.
Raiola stomped on the ankle of defensive lineman Ego Ferguson of the Chicago Bears during the third quarter. Although he claimed the move was unintentional Sunday night, Lions Coach Jim Caldwell was bracing for the “possibility” of a suspension. As for a precedent, Ndamukong Suh of the Lions was suspended two games for a Thanksgiving 2011 stomp and Albert Haynesworth, then of the Tennessee Titans, was banished five games for a more severe stomp in 2006.
This was Raiola’s sixth safety-related rules violation since 2010. In announcing the suspension, the NFL noted that Raiola will not be permitted to attend team meetings and functions; attend or watch practices; appear at the club’s facilities for any reason; attend press conferences; appear at the team’s final regular-season game Sunday or have contact with any club personnel except to arrange off-site medical treatment or rehabilitation. Raiola, who has indicated he will appeal, will be reinstated Dec. 29 and will, of course, be eligible to play in the playoffs.
Raiola said the stomp occurred because he stumbled after a play. “I apologized at the end of the game, told him it was unintentional and we shook hands and that was it,” Raiola said.
Ferguson came out of the game briefly to be examined by medical personnel, but quickly returned.
“None of that matters,” Ferguson said of the incident. “We all saw the play. You can’t take back what happened with that play. That’s the end of that.”
Earlier this season, Raiola was fined $10,000 for unnecessary roughness in the blowout loss to New England.