Dean Blandino, the NFL’s VP of officiating, confirmed Terrell Suggs’ assertion that his hit on Sam Bradford in Week 2 was completely legal.
Suggs received a 15-yard roughing-the-passer penalty on the play and incurred the wrath of many who believed it was a dirty play, including Bradford.
Bradford says he thinks Suggs went at his knees intentionally. #Eagles
— Eliot Shorr-Parks (@EliotShorrParks) August 23, 2015
Suggs contended all along that since Bradford was executing a read-option play he was clearly a runner, in which case the roughing-the-passer rule doesn’t apply.
Blandino confirmed this in a phone interview with NFL Network on Monday morning.
“Basically because the quarterback has an option, he’s considered a runner until he either clearly doesn’t have the football or he re-establishes himself as a passer,” Blandino said. “So, it’s not a foul by rule. It’s something that we make sure we’ll cover with our game officials, because the defensive end coming off the edge, he doesn’t know if the quarterback’s going to keep it. He doesn’t know if he’s going to take off and run or drop back, and so we treat the quarterback in that instance as a runner until he clearly establishes himself as a passer or he clearly doesn’t have the football.”
After being asked once again, after all that, if it was a foul, Blandino said, “It’s not a foul.”
Regardless of this clarification, many will likely still accuse Suggs of executing a dirty play here because of how low he was when he hit Bradford, who is coming off his second ACL surgery. This is debatable, but there is no doubt the pass-rusher didn’t break the rules as it pertains to tackling a quarterback who is in the middle of executing a read-option play.