NFL: Baker Hit Was Legal, Not Worthy Of Fine Or Suspension

Photo Credit: Jeffrey G. Pittenger - USA Today

Photo Credit: Jeffrey G. Pittenger – USA Today

The NFL has ruled that the Chris Baker hit on Nick Foles from Sunday was legal, and the Washington defensive lineman will not be suspended, according to a Washington Post report.

“Baker didn’t do anything wrong with that hit,” said Troy Vincent, the NFL’s executive vice president of football operations. “When you look at the rule, he didn’t do anything illegal. People can say it’s a cheap shot and you can talk about whether it might fall under unsportsmanlike conduct. But when you know the rule and you look at the play, he didn’t hit him in the head. He didn’t hit him in the neck. We looked at it. I looked at it very closely. He’s not going to be fined for that.”

The rule, which we referred to Sunday, is not just about hitting the quarterback in the head or neck. Instead, it says the quarterback “must not be unnecessarily contacted” until he “assumes a distinctly defensive position” on interception and fumble returns.

Here’s the full rule:


If the league ruled that Foles was in a defensive position, then the hit would be legal.

Of course, the other side could also argue that the ball-carrier was already down before Baker leveled Foles.

Said Chip Kelly earlier this week: “It was a penalty. No question about it. You can’t hit a defenseless player. The referee called it the right way, and he was ejected from the game.”

Added Jason Peters today: “That’s just like a guy hitting the punter. They put that rule in, and it’s in for the quarterback also. He just cheap-shotted him. Foles wasn’t trying to make a play. He was just kind of like going over to the sideline, a little light trot, and he blind-sided him.”

Baker could still be fined for his role in the fight afterwards, as could Peters. But he will not be fined for the hit, and he will be eligible to play Thursday night against the Giants.