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CLEVELAND – Cleveland Brown center JC Tretter said he believes Kansas City Chiefs assistant coach Greg Lewis should be disciplined by the NFL for his role in a side-by-side conflict with Cleveland safety Ronnie Harrison Jr. Sunday.
Harrison was pushed out of Cleveland’s 33-29 loss in the first quarter after he heavily pushed Lewis, who pushed Brown’s safety after coming over to help the Chiefs run back to Clyde Edwards-Helaire.
Tretter, the NFL players’ union president, did not approve of Harrison’s behavior but said Lewis should be held accountable by the league for his actions.
“I expect the coach to be kept to the same standard – if not a higher standard – than Ronnie,” Tretter said in a Zoom call. “To be the first in there and be a coach, put your hands on an opponent.
“I do not think there is room for that in this league.”
An NFL spokesman said the incident is under review and that Harrison will not be suspended.
It is likely that he will receive a fine.
After an 11-yard gain, Edwards-Helaire was tackled on Kansas City’s sideline by Harrison and linebacker Mack Wilson. With Edwards-Helaire on the ground, Harrison stood over him and seemed to step back on the track when Lewis, the team’s training back coach, came over and pushed Harrison.
Cleveland’s safety shot back with a high push to Lewis’ neck area, knocking his headset crookedly.
Kansas City’s bench was originally called for unsportsmanlike conduct. After a review, officials fired Harrison, and the dismissal cost the Browns one of their best defenders.
Lewis was allowed to stay on the sidelines, which did not suit the Browns well.
“He should get the same treatment that our players get,” said All-Pro defensive end Myles Garrett. “He should be thrown out of the game just like Ronnie.”
Whatever happened, Brown’s coach Kevin Stefanski said Harrison should show better judgment.
“It’s the oldest thing in football: Game officials always see the other guy,” Stefanski said. “And Ronnie has to show some calm there and not take revenge.”
Chiefs coach Andy Reid was not asked about possible discipline for Lewis on Monday. After the match, he defended his assistant.
“You are not doing it on our sidelines, you are not doing it against our guys, the bottom line,” he said.
Tretter saw it differently, as both Harrison and Lewis were wrong.
“Obviously, Ronnie can’t reciprocate,” he said. “But we can’t have opposing coaches putting their hands on opponents. We can’t have that.”
Tretter pointed out that coaches can no longer go on the field for injuries due to an incident between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cincinnati Bengals a few years back. He added the league’s emphasis on the taunt this season, designed to minimize the chance of retaliation.
Stefanski did not point fingers, but he said he did not believe Harrison intended to step on Edwards-Helaire.
“I think any contact that came from Ronnie was random,” Stefanski said. “If you look at the tape, it’s pretty obvious he’s bumping into each other as he tries to get out of their bounds.
“But that does not excuse him from taking revenge. You can not. It’s something we all know the game officials will see the second guy, not the first guy.”