Patrick Ricard has been blocking NFL linebackers for seven years, doing the dirty work for the Ravens’ offense and receiving little public acknowledgement.
But this past week he was in the social media spotlight, not for a rare offensive touch but for what appeared to be an innocuous block delivered in the second quarter of last Sunday’s game in Arizona.
Ricard was alerted by his agent on Tuesday that his next game check could be lighter than normal, thanks to a $21,694 fine from the league.
“I think it’s pretty ridiculous to be honest, especially the amount they’re fining me,” Ricard said after Sunday’s win over the Seahawks.
On first-and-goal from the Cardinals’ 6-yard line, the Ravens put quarterback Lamar Jackson under center with Ricard and running back Gus Edwards behind him. As Edwards received the handoff, Ricard raced to the line of scrimmage and made contact with Arizona linebacker Kyzir White, driving him backward to the goal line.
“I’m trying to make my block,” Ricard said. “We’re on the 5-yard line. I’m gonna do everything I can to make sure my guy doesn’t make the play, and I drive him backwards. If my head gets involved, it gets involved.”
Ricard was told he’d initiated contact with White using the crown of his helmet on the block, resulting in the fine. Had he been flagged on the play, the Ravens would have incurred a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty.
“I’ve been doing this for seven years at the highest level at my position, and I’ve never been fined for it before. So for that to get fined it’s hard to believe.”
Ricard plans to appeal.
“Just gonna plead my case,” he said. “I don’t think I should be fined. I think it should be reduced or taken away. It wasn’t blatant; it wasn’t ridiculous. It wasn’t like the crown of my helmet [went] right into the guy. But it is what it is.”
Future Hall of Fame defensive end J.J. Watt was one of several current and former players who took to X, formerly Twitter, to criticize the fine.
Former Ravens tight end Benjamin Watson also weighed in, saying “This is stupid. Anyone who has ever had to lead block on a linebacker in the NFL knows that it’s never pretty. It’s a violent battle of leverage, blunt force and technique.”
Ricard said he understands the league’s reasoning for enforcing the penalty: “They’re trying to keep the game safe, and I understand it. But I think it was a pretty routine block on my end.”
Through the first eight games, 10 Ravens players were fined 14 times for a total of $229,937. Baltimore incurred six fines after its 24-16 win over the Titans in London, including two for unnecessary roughness by wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.
“Definitely with our team it feels like we’re getting a little bit more,” Ricard said.
After that Titans game, offensive tackle Ronnie Stanley was charged $16,391 for a hard collision with Tennessee defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons. Stanley appealed his fine but is waiting to hear back from the league.
“There’s definitely frustration,” Stanley said. “I think guys think the game’s gotten a little soft in that regard. But we just have to be compliant with the rules at hand and try our best. But we’re not gonna stop playing Raven football, and we’re just gonna play physical.”