JUJU SMITH-SCHUSTER of the Pittsburgh Steelers and GEORGE ILOKA of the Cincinnati Bengals have been suspended without pay for one game each for violations of safety-related playing rules in Monday's game.
It's interesting that they both get the same suspension given to New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski for diving on Buffalo Bills cornerback Tre'Davious White after the play was dead and giving him a concussion.
A suspension is the only response the league can rightfully give to what Smith-Schuster did.
"On a play which began with 3:55 left in the game, you violently struck a defenseless receiver in the head and neck area", Runyan wrote in his letter to Iloka. The rookie wide out then taunted Burfict by walking over him as he lay on the ground.
As Schuster-Smith apologized for taunting after the game, receiver Antonio Brown yelled: "Karma!" Then, he proved his ill intentions by taunting him afterward. Burfict would be carted off the field shortly after and it was not a good look for JuJu. "I was trying to get a big block for Le'Veon Bell for him to get upfield", Smith-Schuster said. The unsportsmanlike conduct is not me.
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NFL Vice President of Football Operations Jon Runyan said Smith-Schuster "delivered a violent and unnecessary blindside shot to his head and neck area" and "celebrated" the hit. "You do the wrong things, you get the wrong things out of it".
The Steelers had a 2nd-and-10 with just over seven minutes to go in the last quarter of the game and they were down on the scoreboard against the Bengals 20-13.
"I haven't had an opportunity to see the television copy often times particularly in HD - that provides the best case scenario", Tomlin told reporters. The two teams have combined for 1,088 penalty yards in their matchups against each other, including playoffs, since the 2015 season.
"We have a responsibility to make this game as safe as it possibly can be".
"I'll acknowledge that there were some unfortunate situations in that game that we don't need in our game", Tomlin said.