PITTSBURGH – In Eric Reid's mind, he was just trying to do his job.
In the minds of the officials, the Panthers safety was targeting Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger when he slid after an 18-yard scramble late in the third quarter of Pittsburgh's blowout victory.
So Reid was assessed a 15-yard penalty and a disqualification, sending him to the locker room for an early shower.
"I didn't even know you could be ejected," said Reid, who led Carolina with nine tackles. "The referees told me I was targeting him, which I disagree with."
Reid's shoulder made contact with Roethlisberger's head, but he avoided what could have been a gigantic collision at full speed. With that said, head coach Ron Rivera was disappointed with the referees' ruling to eject.
"I don't think that was warranted, I really don't. I don't think he hit him hard enough to eject him," Rivera said. "They are trying to protect the quarterbacks, and he was high."
A scuffle broke out immediately after Reid made contact with Roethlisberger and players had to be separated. But once the dust settled, Reid made his way to Roethlisberger to shake hands and clear the air.
"I told him I didn't intend to hurt him by any means," Reid explained. "I just said no hard feelings. He said there were no hard feelings."
Reid's intentions weren't malicious, and he didn't express any regret about how he approached the situation as Roethlisberger ran toward him, especially considering he was going full speed while the quarterback opted to slide.
"These plays happen so fast. My job is to tackle that guy," Reid said. "I was simply doing my job. It was a bang-bang play."