Outside linebacker Matthew Judon was ejected from Sunday's Ravens-Steelers game for contacting an official, but says it was inadvertent and the film supports his case.
Judon's arm swung as he tried to rip it away from a Ravens coach that was trying to restrain him.
"I would never intentionally make contact with an official," Judon said in a statement after the game. "I was attempting to free my arm as I was being held back, and I inadvertently contacted the official's arm.
"My emotions were running high in the moment, and I take full responsibility for what happened. I need to do a better job of keeping my cool and not doing anything that negatively affects my team."
Senior Vice President of Officiating Al Riveron told a pool reporter that contact with an official does not have to be deemed intentional to still result in an ejection. It's up to the official's discretion.
"[It's] if the official feels that it rises to the level of an ejection," Riveron said. "For example, if a player bumps into an official during a play, we're not going to disqualify him for that. But if the official feels that it rises to a certain level, he or she has the option of ejecting the player on the field."
Referee Brad Allen announced that Judon was ejected for intentionally making contact. Riveron said he'd have to go back and listen to the announcement.
The scuffle started between Ravens cornerback Marcus Peters and Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson, who came facemask-to-facemask at the end of a James Connor run for a loss of two yards. Judon got in the middle of it to separate the players, but the situation escalated from there.
Judon is the Ravens' franchise-tagged player, and his ejection was a tough blow for a defense looking to put max pressure on quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. In his place, second-year linebacker Jaylon Ferguson recorded a sack and two tackles for loss.
Judon did not crack the box score before his ejection. The Ravens defense dominated Pittsburgh's offense in the first half, but surrendered three touchdowns in the second half.