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 NFL 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.
Steelers’ Shazier in hospital
with spinal injury
Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier remains in a Cincinnati hospital on Tuesday, one day after he sustained a spinal injury in Monday’s game against the Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium.
Shazier’s injury will not require surgery at this time, and he will continue to be evaluated with the hopes of returning to Pittsburgh, the team announced. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin told reporters at Tuesday’s news conference that Shazier felt good mentally, but declined to give additional information about his physical condition. The Steelers received news that Shazier had movement in his lower extremities.
Patriots’ Gronkowski to miss
match against Dolphins
The NFL has denied New England Patriots star tight end Rob Gronkowski’s appeal of his one-game suspension for his late hit on Bills cornerback Tre’Davious White last Sunday in Buffalo, ESPN reported. As a result, Gronkowski will miss Monday night’s game against the AFC East rival Dolphins in Miami.
Bears sign Nugent
The Chicago Bears signed Mike Nugent and placed fellow kicker Cairo Santos on injured reserve, the team announced. Santos, who was acquired last month to replace Connor Barth, tweaked a groin muscle prior to Chicago’s 15-14 loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday. Nugent made seven of nine field-goal attempts in four games this season for the Dallas Cowboys.
Meanwhile, Buffalo Bills defensive end Shaq Lawson was placed on injured reserve and will miss the remainder of the season after suffering an ankle injury in Sunday’s loss to the New England Patriots. The Bills also announced that receiver Jordan Matthews is done for the season with a knee injury. Lawson had a team-leading four sacks this season.
Denver Broncos defensive end Derek Wolfe was placed on injured reserve with a neck injury, the team announced. Wolfe started all 11 games in which he played this season, finishing the season with 31 tackles and two sacks. Wolfe was carted off the field during the Broncos’ Week 12 loss to the Oakland Raiders, and he did not play in this past Sunday’s loss to Miami.
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