KANSAS CITY, Mo. — With about five minutes left in the first quarter of the week 1 matchup between the Cleveland Browns and Kansas City Chiefs, Browns safety Ronnie Harrison Jr. and Chiefs running backs coach Greg Lewis traded shoves after a tackle on Clyde Edwards-Helaire prompting the referees to eject Harrison.
Edwards-Helaire was on the ground after getting tackled by Harrison on the sideline. As Harrison got up to walk back to the field, his foot ended back on the Chiefs running back and Lewis pushed the Browns’ safety to get him off his player.
Harrison retaliated and shoved Lewis and was ejected. Lewis did not receive any discipline to this point, but NFL Players Association president JC Tretter, who plays center for the Browns, says the league should take action on the Chiefs coach as well.
“Obviously, Ronnie can’t retaliate. You can’t be the second one in those instances you’re always going to be called for that. But we can’t have opposing coaches putting hands on opposing players. We’ve seen rules be changed,” Tretter said. “A few years ago, we had an incident with the Bengals and Steelers, I believe, where now coaches aren’t allowed on the field during injuries, because something like that happened and it ramped everybody up and we had a few nasty plays after that because of it. “
Chiefs head coach Andy Reid defended Lewis after the game saying the penalty was justified.
“The fellow that was involved with it came over and he was on the chest of our player and that’s what happened. So, he [Lewis] was trying to get him [Harrison] off and he didn’t want to get off, so he kind of just lifted him a little bit and then he got hit,” Reid said. “But he was there to help get that fellow who was leaning on our guy. That’s why there was a penalty, right? So, the officials fixed it, which I thought was important. You don’t do that on our sideline, you don’t do that to our guys, bottom line.”
Tretter said that coaches on the sideline should be held to the same standard that players on the field are held to.
“The NFL’s whole stance behind this change in the taunting rule was to avoid retaliation and avoid events that cause retaliation. I would expect that the coach gets held to the same standard, if not higher standard than Ronnie,” Tretter said. “Being the first one in there and being a coach putting his hands on an opposing player I don’t think there is any room for that in this league.”
Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski did not comment on whether he thinks Lewis should be disciplined, but said Harrison should have shown poise.
“It’s the oldest thing in football in sport the game officials always see the second guy and Ronnie’s gotta show some poise and not retaliate,” Stefanski said.
According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, no suspension is expected for Harrison.