"It's not a foul by rule," NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino said Monday morning during an interview with NFL Network.
On the Eagles' sixth offensive snap, Bradford handed the ball off to running back Darren Sproles and then immediately was hit by Suggs on his surgically repaired knees. Blandino explained that Bradford doesn't have the special protections afforded a passer because it was a read-option play.
"We clarified it in 2012 with the proliferation of these read-option schemes," Blandino said. "Because the quarterback has an option, he's considered a runner until he either clearly doesn't have the football or he re-establishes himself as a passer."
Blandino's clarification of the rule serves as vindication for Suggs and the Ravens.
Some Eagles players called out Suggs for being a dirty player and taking a "cheap shot" at their quarterback's surgically repaired knees. Suggs insisted he was playing by the rules and spoke to referee Jerome Boger about the penalty to no avail.
"It's something that we'll make sure we'll cover with our game officials," Blandino said. "Because the defensive end coming off the edge, he doesn't know if the quarterback is going to keep it; he doesn't [know] if he's going to take off and run or drop back. So, we treat the quarterback in that instance as a runner until he clearly re-establishes as a passer or he clearly doesn't have the football."
Blandino added, "We'll clarify that and make sure everybody is on the same page."