The NFL hardly has been secretive about the rule change that allowed for in-game officials to eject players for helmet-to-helmet hits. The revision was finalized in May, with NFL Vice President of Football Operations Troy Vincent laying out the criteria for ejection in a pretty clear tweet:
But Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid still seemed a little confused about why he was ejected for targeting following a hit on Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger on Thursday night.
“I didn’t even know you could be ejected,” Reid said after the game, per the team’s website. “The referees told me I was targeting him, which I disagree with.”
Panthers Coach Ron Rivera agreed with his player.
"I don’t think that was warranted, I really don’t. I don’t think he hit him hard enough to eject him,” he said. “They are trying to protect the quarterbacks, and he was high.”
Here’s a clip of the hit plus the explanation for Reid’s ejection from NFL officiating chief Al Riveron:
According to QuirkyResearch.com, Reid was the third defensive player to be ejected for this type of thing this season. In Week 1, Bengals safety Shawn Williams was banished to the locker room for a hit on Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, who was diving headfirst at the time. A week later, Falcons safety Damontae Kazee was ejected for diving into sliding Panthers quarterback Cam Newton.
Reid, who joined Colin Kaepernick in kneeling during the national anthem during their time together in San Francisco, signed with the Panthers as a free agent in late September after being passed over by the rest of the league during training camp and the early portion of the regular season. He told reporters that the NFL had randomly selected him for a drug test after the game.
“This is like the fifth time since I’ve been here,” he said. “They’re not going to catch me on anything.”
As explained by Yahoo, the NFL randomly selects 10 players from each team for drug testing after games (the players are chosen via computer program). NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy pointed out Friday that the league’s drug testing procedures are overseen by an independent administrator who is jointly appointed by the league and the players' union.
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