Cleveland Browns safety T.J. Ward was fined $15,000 for his hit on Jordan Shipley in the end zone when the Browns and Bengals last met. The Bengals lost that game 23-20. Shipley left that game with a concussion. Carson Palmer and Terrell Owens called the hit a cheap shot and a FOX NFL analyst said that Ward should have been fined $25,000. Needless to say, Bengals Nation doesn't really like T.J. Ward.
According to an article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Ward would like to let Shipley know that he didn't intentionally mean to physically hurt him.
"We've still got to be focused and ready warming up, but if I get the opportunity, I might shout at him for a little bit,'' said Ward. "I might just tell him it wasn't my intent to hurt him or do anything like that, I was just playing the game. I hope he understands that. If not, I don't know, I tried.''
Ward said that he hopes that the Bengals don't try to retaliate against him, however, he's going to expect the worst - especially from the fans who he feels won't be very happy to see him.
Ward also said that he doesn't like being thought of as a villain in the NFL and his comments about the hit after the game on October 3, were misconstrued.
"I don't really like the villain word,'' said Ward. "Any time you come into an opposing team's stadium you're going to be a villain. It's all right. They can call me what they want. I know what kind of player I am, my teammates know what type of player I am. I'm not a dirty player at all. It is what it is. We'll see.''
"What I said kind of got misconstrued about how I said I'd do it again,'' said Ward. "It wasn't nothing about a direct intention to hurt him or hit him again like that. I was just basically saying that I play the game the way its supposed to be played. It wasn't saying I'd hit him again or knock him out the game or anything like that. It was just a broad statement.''
The Bengals are favored to beat the Browns by one point. I can see it now.
Down 35-30, the Bengals take the field with 5 seconds left on the 50 yard line (I hope it doesn't actually happen this way). Shipley catches a 20-yard pass across the middle. There's just one man to beat - it's T.J. Ward. Shipley lowers his head. Ward braces for impact. In the last second, Shipley jukes to the right and Ward whiffs on the tackle. Shipley has a clear route to the end zone. The Bengals win 36-35 (i think that's a possible score) and Shipley beating Ward is what gets it done. The team carries Shipley off the field and Ward picks up his jock strap which was laying back on the 20 yard line.
Poetic justice at it's finest.