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Ravens coach John Harbaugh says players ‘deserve to be protected’ after controversial hit on Willie Snead IV

Ravens coach John Harbaugh reiterated his view that “Ravens players deserve to be protected just like every other player in this league” when asked Monday about a controversial hit on Willie Snead IV that ended his team’s loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

“We expect it to be fair, and that’s all we’ll ask for,” Harbaugh said during his regular Monday news conference.

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In his postgame remarks, Harbaugh said officials offered no explanation for the lack of a flag after Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick made contact with Snead’s helmet on the final play of the 28-24 loss.

He declined to detail his subsequent conversations with league officials but said he does “take to heart” the views of former NFL officials who now serve as broadcast analysts and saw the contact between Fitzpatrick and Snead as incidental.

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CBS Sports rules analyst and former NFL referee Gene Steratore wrote on Twitter on Sunday night that “Minkah Fitzpatrick is making a play on the ball so the contact to the receiver is not a foul. Any incidental contact by an opponent’s hands, arms, or body when both players are competing for the ball isn’t a penalty.”

'"It’s there for everybody to see," Harbaugh said Monday. “What can I add to it? The conversations I’ve had with them, I’d probably prefer to keep to myself, for practical reasons. It really doesn’t matter what I think. It matters what they think.”

After the game, Snead said the call “could have [gone] either way, to be honest. When I got hit, it just happened so [quickly]. As soon as the ball touched my hands, I got hit. I didn’t know how he hit me, seriously, but I got hit in the head. So I’ll just leave it at that.”

Game officials also faced criticism for failing to award the Ravens extra time after Steelers defensive lineman Cameron Heyward fell to the field with an injury during the game’s final drive. Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson rushed to spike the ball with eight seconds left, but officials subsequently wiped that play out, calling an injury timeout for Heyward. They did not reset the clock as is customary in such situations, and the Ravens had time for just two more plays.

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“I asked about the time, I got no answer on that. I think they said the time was fine,” Harbaugh said postgame.

The Ravens have been flagged for 21 penalties over their past two games, compared to six for their opponents. “It doesn’t feel lopsided. It is lopsided,” Harbaugh said when asked about the discrepancy. “We try to look at every penalty individually. We coach our guys, and that’s really all we can do. The rest of it is out of our hands.”

He spoke briefly with outside linebacker Matthew Judon, who was ejected from Sunday’s game for making contact with an official. “He said it wasn’t intentional, that he was trying to break free,” Harbaugh said. “I think anytime you’re in a position where your arms are being held back, it’s a pretty natural response to try to break free. That’s what he expressed to me. He certainly wasn’t swinging at anybody.”

Harbaugh reviewed video of the incident Monday. “Exactly what he told me happened is what I saw on the video,” he said. “So I take him at his word, but I also saw it.”

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