Ravens safety Bernard Pollard was hit with two 15-yard penalties – one for hitting a defenseless receiver and another for taunting – in the span of three plays during the fourth quarter of Sunday's 24-9 victory over the Indianapolis Colts.
Pollard was noticeably upset about the penalties, and after the game he said that the taunting call came after one of the Colts' assistant coaches called him a vulgar name.
"When a coach says something to me, I got to walk away, and if a player pushed me I got to walk away," Pollard said. "But that's hard for us as men, when someone pushes you, when someone challenges you, when you're in the moment already, your first thing to do is respond. I got to be smart. I can't hurt our team to give their offense 15 yards."
The taunting penalty came after a play on the sidelines took Pollard into the Colts bench area. He had just been flagged for the hit on wide receiver Reggie Wayne, and one of the Colts coaches apparently had some words for him.
Pollard didn't say who the coach was or exactly what he called him.
"You gotta watch what you say," Pollard said. "You don't talk to players like that. I don't care. You gotta respect everybody around the league. You respect them as a man. You don't sit there and curse and demean somebody just because you got a big hit.
"I just think to see his eyes buck wide open when I walked up to him, that was just enough for me. You gotta watch what you say. You gotta respect people. You gotta understand that you're dealing with me, you're not dealing with no little boys, you got to respect everybody out there."
Pollard was visibly upset after the two penalties, and the Ravens brought him over to the sidelines for a few plays to temper his emotions.
"That's what a coach has to do," he said. "I came out for a play or two or whatever. He talked to me. I can't make it about myself. I have to be smart."
With the unnecessary roughness that drew the penalty, Pollard tried to separate Wayne from the football. Wayne was juggling the ball and trying to corral the ball for the catch when Pollard came across the middle and delivered a shoulder to Wayne's chest.
It was a big hit, but most of the contact was with the body. There was some helmet-to-helmet contact, but Pollard explained that Wayne ducked his head and that's what drew the helmet-to-helmet contact.
"I didn't try to go in there and illegally hit Reggie Wayne," Pollard said. "He ducked his head. So I'm playing ball."
Pollard said that he could see a fine coming from the NFL for the hit, but he does not expect a suspension* *to be handed down his way.
"I'm not malicious," Pollard said. "I don't go out there and hurt anybody. I just go out there and play football. Last time I checked, this is a rough, tough game and it's for men. It's not powder puff, it's not flag football. This is not the Lingerie League. This is football. This is the National Football League."