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Steelers' Smith-Schuster, Bengals' Iloka each banned 1 game

08 December 2017
Steelers' Smith-Schuster, Bengals' Iloka each banned 1 game

Antonio Brown was overheard repeating the word "karma" as fellow Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster talked to reporters about his block that left Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict prone on the field Monday.

In his letter to Iloka notifying him of the suspension, Runyan stated that Iloka violated Rule 12, Section 2, Article 7 which prohibits forcibly hitting a defenseless player's head or neck area with the helmet, facemask, forearm or shoulder. Burfict's teammates obviously didn't like that one bit, and the game officials flagged him for taunting and unnecessary roughness.

In issuing the league's initial suspension ruling, NFL vice-president of football operations Jon Runyan said Brown was a defenceless receiver when Iloka hit him in the end zone on a fourth-quarter touchdown catch Monday. White was sent to the concussion protocol after being sandwiched to the ground by Gronkowski, and Burfict was immobilized before being carried to the locker room after being dropped by Smith-Schuster. Sure, it's a violent game, but the rules expressly forbid hits like the one Smith-Schuster laid on Burfict.

"You are suspended for the unsafe and unsportsmanlike acts you committed during the fourth quarter of last night's game", NFL vice president of football operations Jon Runyan said. Burfict is known as a dirty player and has a history with the Steelers.

But Smith-Schuster made the situation a million times worse by standing over Burfict and taunting him. "We already play a high-injury sport", said, via

"Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin wasn't happy with the rookie's actions either, as he said: "[Smith-Schuster] shouldn't have stood over him ...

"I think the league's been very proactive on that, and I think the players have respect for each other and have a lot of respect for the game".