Via This Given Sunday:
Bruce Arians could be in hot water after commenting on his perception of Lions defensive tackle, Ndamukong Suh.
In preparation for this weekend's game between Arians' Colts and the Lions, Bruce Arians said of Suh, "I'd love to have him on my team. I like the way he plays. He plays aggressive, hard, fast and physical."
Per Pro Football Talk, the league's anti-tampering policy prohibits, "[a]ny public or private statement of interest, qualified or unqualified, in another club’s player . . . to a member of the news media.” The policy includes this specific example of a forbidden statement: “He’s an excellent player, and we’d very much like to have him if he were available, but another club holds his rights."
So, under the letter of the law, Bruce Arians is no doubt guilty of tampering. He said quite clearly that he'd like to have another team's player, but it's not tampering in the spirit of the rule. The rule is meant to prevent teams from influencing players to sign with that club in fee agency. Suh won't be a free agent for another two years, and it seems unlikely the Lions would let him become a free agent.
This is a case where the NFL needs to step in, send around a memo reminding coaches and other NFL staffers about the rule, and they need to change the wording. This is a rare case where a more ambiguous rule may be beneficial. Arians' comments were in no way meant to somehow influence Suh into joining the Colts down the road, and the NFL shouldn't punish him for such an off-hand comment.
Rules are meant to be enforced, but if it's a bad rule, it needs changed. This is a poorly worded rule at best and a bad rule at worst. The NFL just needs to let this one slide.