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T.J. Ward not fined for season-ending hit on Rob Gronkowski

12.13.13 at 5:07 pm ET
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Cleveland safety T.J. Ward (43) takes out Rob Gronkowski (87) with a hit to his lower right leg. (AP)

Cleveland safety T.J. Ward (43) takes out Rob Gronkowski (87) with a hit to his lower right leg. (AP)

There will be no financial penalty or other discipline levied against Browns safety T.J. Ward for his season-ending hit on the right knee of Rob Gronkowski.

The key, in the eyes of the NFL’s disciplinary panel, was that Gronkowski was not a defenseless receiver. He had the ball following a seam pass from Tom Brady so the hit was technically legal. Ward, at 5-foot-10, 200 pounds, dove into Gronkowski’s right leg as his foot was planting, which forced his knee to bend while simultaneously lifting the tight end into the air. Gronkowski, at 6-foot-6, 265 pounds, somersaulted sideways and suffered a torn ACL and MCL.

He was placed on injured reserve Monday, ending his season.

After Sunday’s game, Ward, who has been fined multiple times in his career for high hits, lamented that he has to go low to avoid another more serious fine.

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