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Bluetooth earpiece worn on Baltimore Ravens sideline raises question about rules violation

DANIEL OYEFUSI
The Baltimore Sun
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A Baltimore Ravens security official seen wearing a Bluetooth earpiece on the sideline during Sunday’s 31-15 win over the Cleveland Browns is raising questions about whether the team violated the NFL’s policy on communication.

Darren Sanders, the team’s vice president of security, was shown on the CBS broadcast wearing the earpiece while standing behind coach John Harbaugh.

The league has strict rules regarding player-to-coach communication, but it is not certain whether the rules extend to all members of the team on the sideline during games.

An NFL spokesperson declined to comment on whether the league was looking into the matter.

In a statement to The Baltimore Sun, the Ravens called the incident a “mistake.”

“We are aware of the situation. It was a mistake, and the Bluetooth was removed as soon as he noticed he was wearing it,” a Ravens spokesperson said.

Earlier this season, Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was fined $5,000 for a uniform violation after he was seen wearing an Apple Watch on the team’s sideline, although he is injured and was inactive for the game.

Harbaugh has not spoken to reporters since his weekly news conference on Monday but is scheduled to speak Friday.

The Ravens were fined $200,000 in September 2018 for violation of the league’s coach-to-player communications policy during the 2018 preseason. The team was punished for having multiple players on the field at the same time with communication devices.

After receiving the punishment, the team released a statement saying it misunderstood the league’s rules also applied in the preseason.