Raiola denies intentionally stomping Bears player
Chicago — Lions center Dominic Raiola said he didn't intentionally stomp on Bears rookie defensive tackle Ego Ferguson's ankle, and even though Raiola apologized, Ferguson made clear after the game that wasn't enough.
Now, it will be up to the NFL to determine a punishment for Raiola, and there's a chance he'll be suspended for next week's game in Green Bay with the NFC North title on the line.
With 11:45 left in the third quarter of Sunday's 20-14 Lions win at Soldier Field, Raiola was briefly off-balance after a 4-yard run by Joique Bell. Then, he stomped his left foot into Ferguson's right ankle. Ferguson left the game briefly with an ankle injury, but did return.
The play did not receive a penalty.
"We're out there trying to score a touchdown. I'm not going to put myself in position to get a 15-yarder. Come on, now," Raiola said after the game. "I knew I was stumbling. Me and (left guard) Rob (Sims) had a combination block. I remember exactly what happened. I was stumbling through.
"If I intentionally step on him, that puts me in danger of getting hurt, so let's put that to rest now. He accepted the apology and we move on."
Ferguson, though, told reporters that any apology was irrelevant.
"None of that matters. We all saw the play," Ferguson said. "You can't take back what happened with that play, you know what I mean? We all saw the play, so that's the end of that."
Whether or not Raiola's intent was to injure Ferguson, the NFL will surely review the play to determine if punishment is necessary. Raiola received a $10,000 fine earlier this season for punching Patriots rookie defensive lineman Zach Moore on the final series of New England's 34-9 win.
Shortly after the stomp on Ferguson, Mike Pereira said on Twitter there would be a "sizable fine" for Raiola, but in a video he posted later, he said the act merited consideration of suspension.
In the video, Pereira, the former NFL vice president of officiating and current rules analyst for FOX sports, compared Raiola's stomp to those of Ndamukong Suh and Albert Haynesworth. Suh received a two-game suspension, Haynesworth was suspended for five and Pereira said there's a "realistic possibility of suspension for Raiola.
Lions coach Jim Caldwell said during his postgame news conference he hadn't yet seen the play.
"What I understand is that was inadvertent," he said. "I know he apologized to the guy."
Raiola said he didn't expect to receive a punishment, and the play was not penalized in the game. But Ferguson thought Raiola broke an unwritten rule.
"I felt like if you're in between the lines, you need to stay in between the lines and that was the end of that," Ferguson said.