Amid all the outrage over Ahmad Brooks’ much-talked-about near-beheading of Drew Brees on Sunday was a voice. A voice who has surely been in Brooks’ shoes before, a voice who for 17 years was one of the NFL’s most fearsome hitters, who treated ball carriers like they were tackling dummies. That voice was future hall-of-fame linebacker Ray Lewis.
Lewis used his national platform as an analyst during ESPN’s Monday Night Football coverage this week to lambaste the league for the “embarrassing” personal foul called on Brooks for his hit on Brees (in comical slow motion above), a foul that negated a fumble recovery by the 49ers that would have likely sealed the victory, rather than allow the Saints go to on to tie and then win the game. A sampling (as transcribed by FTW):
“This is the most embarrassing call in the National Football League since the tuck rule and Tom Brady. I’m serious. I’ve just never seen this type of insult to defenders. [...] The second part that’s embarrassing about this is for Drew Brees to say, ‘I got hit so hard I knew it had to be a flag.’ THIS IS THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE. I DON’T UNDERSTAND WHAT THAT MEANS. When you get hit like that from the blind side, it’s supposed to hurt!”
And then he started waving around his American Express card and said the following:
“But I’ll tell you this, if they fine this kid, if they go on record and they fine this kid, Ahmad Brooks, I’ll gonna do something personally. I’m gonna pay half. Half. [Trent Dilfer interrupts: "He's gonna get fined, Ray."] If they fine this kid, Trent, I’m gonna pay half of this kid’s fine, because of one reason — because of one reason — defenders have to be respected as men before anything else. [...] And that man laid a clean hit and that cost the San Francisco 49ers a complete football game yesterday and could have cost them in the playoffs.”
Fast forward to Wednesday, judgement day, when Brooks was fined a hefty $15,750 by the league. So now, the question is will Lewis follow through with his word? He will!
ESPN analyst Ray Lewis: "I will see Ahmad on Monday and I will have a check in hand for half of the fine."
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 20, 2013
(In fact, Tedy Bruschi has offered to pay a third of the fine, as well.)
It just so happens the 49ers are on Monday Night Football next week. I hope Lewis makes the payment (that’s $7,875, for you math non-geniuses) to Brooks as one of those gigantic Publishers Clearing House-style checks. That would make phenomenal television.
UPDATE: Phenomenal television will have to wait for now because Ahmad Brooks doesn’t want Ray Lewis’ money. He’s reportedly going to appeal his fine first:
Ahmad Brooks will appeal $15,750 fine. He informed Tedy Bruschi that he will not accept his nor Ray Lewis' contributions, via @tunasweasel.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 21, 2013
[GIF via @cjzero]