Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward lashed out Wednesday at the NFL for what he calls its hypocritical stance on player safety...
PITTSBURGH — Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward lashed out Wednesday at the NFL for what he calls its hypocritical stance on player safety, arguing the league recently toughened its stance only because it wants to expand to an 18-game season.
Ward said there is considerable confusion among players about which hits are legal and which aren’t since the league stepped up its policing of dangerous hits. Steelers linebacker James Harrison has been fined $125,000 for four separate hits since mid-October, two of which weren’t penalized.
“They league doesn’t care about us anyway,” said Ward, a 13-year veteran and the leading receiver in Steelers history. “They don’t care about the safety of the game. If the league was so concerned about the safety, why are you adding two more games on? You talk about you don’t want players to drink … and all you see is beer commercials. You don’t want us to gamble, but then there are (NFL-endorsed lottery scratch-off games).”
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• Arizona quarterback Derek Anderson has apologized for his Monday night postgame tirade.
“My mom and dad didn’t raise me to act like that in times of adversity,” he said.
The quarterback’s rant, now a nationwide Internet spectacle, came after a series of questions from a reporter about why Anderson was smiling with teammate Deuce Lutui on the sideline while the Cardinals were trailing by 18 points late in the game. The brief clip of the two grinning had been shown during the Monday night telecast.
Anderson said after the game that it was no one’s business what he and Lutui were talking about. As the reporter persisted, Anderson lost his temper and shouted about how he had put his “freaking heart and soul” into the team and that there was nothing funny about it.
• Carolina safety Sherrod Martin said he’s been fined $40,000 for a helmet-to-helmet hit on tight end Evan Moore in Sunday’s loss to Cleveland.
Meanwhile, Panthers coach John Fox insists he benched cornerback Chris Gamble for performance reasons. Defensive end Everette Brown indicates it came after he lost his cool last week.
Gamble isn’t talking.
The surprise demotion of one of Carolina’s highest-paid players to nickel back Sunday took a new twist when Brown indicated Wednesday Gamble was disciplined for missing practice last week. Fox and the team described his absence on the injury report only as “personal.”
• Denver wide receiver Kenny McKinley had a gambling problem and was deep in debt when he committed suicide Sept. 21, friends and family told authorities during a probe into his death.
McKinley committed suicide with a gun he had purchased months before from teammate Jabar Gaffney, who told investigators McKinley wanted the weapon for his own protection, according to an investigative report by the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Department.
• Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger missed only a few snaps in practice despite a sprained right foot that requires him to wear a protective boot away from the playing field.