Carolina Panthers

Panthers’ Ron Rivera: Ejecting Eric Reid after hit not warranted, merits explanation

Ron Rivera comments on Eric Reid’s ejection for targeting

Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera talks about Eric Reid's claims on excessive drug testing, as well as Reid's ejection during the Pittsburgh Steelers game.
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Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera talks about Eric Reid's claims on excessive drug testing, as well as Reid's ejection during the Pittsburgh Steelers game.

Carolina Panthers safety Eric Reid was ejected from Thursday night’s 52-21 loss at Pittsburgh, after his shoulder pad appeared to hit Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s helmet as the latter slid down after a carry.

Reid flew over the top of Roethlisberger as the contact occurred, immediately drawing a flag and, ultimately, the ejection.

Panthers coach Ron Rivera said he didn’t think Reid should have been expelled from the game, a call that will almost certainly draw a fine from the league.

“I don’t think that was warranted, I really don’t,” said Rivera on Thursday night after the game. “I don’t think he hit him hard enough to eject him. Again, we are trying to protect the quarterbacks. If he had hit him as fast as he was going, you know, but again, they’re trying to protect the quarterbacks and he was high (on the hit).”

After the hit, there was a minor scuffle between teams. When that dissipated, Reid went up to Roethlisberger and appeared to apologize.

“I told him that I wasn’t intending to try to hurt him,” said Reid in the locker room after the game. “He said there was no hard feelings.”

Reid also questioned the ejection, and added that he hopes for more consistency from week to week from the officials when making these types of calls.

“I think there’s a guy carrying the ball, and it’s my job to tackle that guy,” he said. “I’m trying to do my job. There was a person running with the football and my job is to tackle that person. That’s all I was trying to do. ...

“There isn’t a lot of consistency. In the first quarter Cam (Newton) got hit with the crown of a helmet, and there was no flag. It’s tough. These plays happen so fast when you’re a defender and you’re trying to tackle somebody. I don’t know if I’m just supposed to wait for the person to just slide, I don’t know what else I’m supposed to do.”

Rivera said on Friday that he has requested an explanation from the league for the ejection. He will receive a response within the next few days.

“I’m not in (agreement) with what the decision was,” he said. “I get the penalty, I don’t get the ejection.”

Reid led the Panthers with nine tackles despite playing just three quarters.

He was also penalized and fined for a personal foul in Week 7 against Philadelphia. Reid hit quarterback Carson Wentz after a handoff, and tight end Zach Ertz responding by charging Reid. Reid upended Ertz, and the two were both flagged for a foul and the penalties offset.

However, Reid was the only one fined for the incident. A league source told the Observer that week that Reid was fined $10,026 for “unnecessary roughness on the picking up and dropping of Zach Ertz.”

Ertz was not fined, the league source said.

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton gives his thoughts on safety Eric Reid being ejected from the game following his tackle on Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger during NFL action on Thursday, November 8, 2018 in Pittsburgh, PA.

Jourdan Rodrigue: 704-358-5071; @jourdanrodrigue