Philadelphia Eagles linebacker DeMeco Ryans must not watch a lot of preseason football.
If he did, he’d know that anything beyond breathing on a receiver is going to draw a penalty in this newly flag-happy NFL. And he’d know that the hit he laid Thursday night on Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell was a textbook example of what referees will be looking for this season.
Targeting a defenseless receiver, not looking for the ball, making contact with the head — it’s all there.
Ryans, of course, was assessed a 15-yard penalty for the hit, and he might be looking at a fine before the regular season even begins.
Bell might have some league punishment coming his way, as well, after he and fellow Steelers running back LeGarrette Blount were arrested and charged with marijuana possession earlier in the week. Bell also was charged with DUI, causing him to miss the team’s flight to Philadelphia for the game. The second-year back paid for his own cross-state flight, according to Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Bell was held to 23 rushing yards on nine carries in the game, which the Eagles won 31-21.