Smith-Schuster, Iloka banned for dangerous hits

AFP
Smith-Schuster was given a suspension after a brutal block on Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict, who left the game on a stretcher following the hit.
AFP
Reuters

Cincinnati Bengals outside linebacker Vontaze Burfict lays on the field injured during the second half of their NFL match against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio, on December 4, 2017.

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster and Cincinnati Bengals safety George Iloka were both hit with one-game bans for incidents in Monday's bruising divisional showdown, the National Footbal League said.

Smith-Schuster was given a suspension after a brutal block on Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict, who left the game on a stretcher following the hit.

The Steelers receiver followed his hit by standing over Burfict and taunting him as he lay stricken on the turf.

Jon Runyan, the NFL vice president of football operations, wrote in a letter to Smith-Schuster that the Steelers rookie had "celebrated" hitting a defenseless player.

"Your conduct following the hit fell far below the high standards of sportsmanship expected of an NFL player," Runyan wrote.

Iloka meanwhile was sanctioned for hitting Antonio Brown in the head and neck area after the Steelers receiver scored a touchdown with 3:55 remaining.

"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.

"The Competition Committee has clearly expressed its goal of 'eliminating flagrant hits that have no place in our game' and has encouraged the League office to suspend offenders for egregious violations such as the one you committed last night."

Pittsburgh won the game 23-20 after a last-second field goal.


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