Carrier defends Iloka

Posted Sep 25, 2013

Mark Carrier doesn't know what to tell his safety after George Iloka got fined $15,000 this week by the NFL for hitting a defenseless receiver.

George Iloka

They don't call Bengals secondary coach Mark Carrier "The Hammer" for nothing.

That was his nickname back in the day of 11 NFL seasons and three Pro Bowls when he roamed safety from 1990 to 2000, and after Wednesday's practice he figured he was fined around $100,000 during his career for helmet-to-helmet hits.

In fact, he says he retired with a game suspension and while he jokes he could pull a Chris Crocker by coming off the couch, he'd have to serve it first before they'd let him in the door.

"The Hall of Fame guys got away with it. They started (fining) the next generation. The '90s, group," Carrier said. "I was just that guy. Somebody had to be that guy. It was me."

All kidding aside, Carrier doesn't know what to tell his safety after George Iloka got fined $15,000 this week by the NFL for hitting a defenseless receiver when Packers tight end Jermichael Finley suffered a concussion and had to leave the Bengals 34-30 win early.

But Carrier does know he's not worried that Iloka is going to change his style and become less aggressive.

"Because everything he did for the most part was right," Carrier said. "The way it looked, it looked like he didn't hit him with his helmet ... that's just how they're doing it now. Especially when you see a guy go down with a concussion. ... He just kind of ran through him. Didn't leave his feet. In that situation there's not much you can tell him differently."

And Iloka sure sounded like he won't change anything as he appeals the play.

"You can't do anything but let them catch the ball," Iloka said. "Unless there's a new rule that you have to let players catch the ball, you just have to eat that fine. I'd rather take whatever the fine is then let a guy make a big catch on third-and-whatever."

Iloka says it was Finley who initiated the contact by diving for the ball on a third-and-11 incompletion early in the first quarter where there was no flag.

"He was coming at me head first and I was just trying to make a play on the ball and knock it out with my hand," Iloka said. "His head happened to hit my lower bicep area and caused a concussion."

Iloka, who took every snap of Sunday's 81-play grind job, goes into his fourth NFL start with eight tackles and he won't change how he's got them.

"I did everything I could that play," Iloka said. "Didn't hit him with my shoulder. Didn't hit him with my head. So, what else do I do to try to make a play on the ball? You don't change your approach as a safety or as a defender. You've just got to try to play within the rules and be as safe as possible. But some things are unavoidable and that play was one of them."

Carrier says he's seeing the effects of the crackdowns on tape.

"I saw one play where the kid had a chance to go make a play on the ball, and he kind of froze and stopped and the guy made the catch," Carrier said. "You can tell he was thinking about getting fined or getting a penalty to hurt his team. He stopped, let him make the catch and tackled him. It went for a first down and he had a chance to make a play and break it up and he didn't do it. It gets in guys' minds."


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