CLEVELAND, Ohio (92.3 The Fan) – The Browns understand why safety Ronnie Harrison Jr. was ejected Sunday.
What they don’t understand is why Kansas City Chiefs assistant coach Greg Lewis was allowed to remain in the game after apparently instigating the incident.
Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski offered no excuses for Harrison’s actions when asked about the situation Monday.
“I talked to Ronnie,” Stefanski said. “It’s the oldest thing in football, in sport – the game officials always see the second guy, and Ronnie’s got to show some poise there and not retaliate.”
The shoves between Lewis and Harrison occurred after an 11-yard catch by Chiefs running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire. Harrison and linebacker Mack Wilson tackled him in the front of the Chiefs’ bench. A review of the video shows Harrison tripping over Edwards-Helaire while trying to get away.
Lewis shoved Harrison, presumably because he thought Harrison was stepping on Edwards-Helaire, prompting Harrison to respond with a shove with his hand in the lower face or neck area, knocking Lewis’ headset loose.
Stefanski declined to comment as to whether or not Lewis should face discipline from the league office for his role in starting the fracas.
“I can only worry about my players, and my team,” Stefanski said. “But I do think that any contact that came from Ronnie was incidental. If you watch the tape, it’s pretty obvious that he’s getting collisioned as he’s trying to get off of their boundary.
“It does not excuse him from retaliating. You can’t do that. That’s something that we all know, that the game officials will see the second guy, not the first guy.”
NFL network reported Monday morning that Harrison will not be suspended following the incident. Stefanski declined to say if the Browns will discipline Harrison.
“We’ll keep those things internal,” Stefanski said.
Browns center and NFLPA president J.C. Tretter also did not excuse Harrison’s actions, however he didn’t mince words when addressing Lewis’ role.
“Obviously Ronnie can’t retaliate,” Tretter said. “You can’t be the second one in those instances. You’re always going to get called for that. But we can’t have opposing coaches putting their hands on opposing players. We can’t have that.
“We’ve seen rules be changed. I think a few years ago we had an incident with the Bengals and Steelers I believe where now coaches aren’t allowed on the field during injuries because something like that happened and it ramped everybody up and we had a few nasty plays after that because of it.
And then the NFL’s whole stance behind this change in the taunting rule was to avoid retaliation and avoid events that cause retaliation.
“So I would expect that the coach gets held to the same standard, if not a higher standard than Ronnie, being the first one in there and being a coach, putting his hands on an opposing player. I don’t think there’s any room for that in this league.”