Steelers angry, confused over NFL’s disciplinary ruling
PITTSBURGH ( AP) — The NFL insists it isn't sending mixed messages as it tries to cut down on what it considers violent plays that cross the line.
The Pittsburgh heard one anyway.
The AFC North leaders are confused and frustrated about Steelers the league's decision to uphold Steelers rookie wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster's onegame suspension for an illegal hit on Cincinnati linebacker Vontaze Burfict while granting Bengals cornerback George Iloka's appeal of his one-game ban for a helmet-tohelmet hit on Steelers star Antonio Brown in the final minutes of Pittsburgh's occasionally brutal 23-20 victory Monday night.
“We've been very consistent,” executive vice president of operations Troy Vincent said during a conference call Wednesday.
Not according to the Steelers.
“They screwed it up,” guard Ramon Foster said. “You say you're concerned over player safety, but you had a guy who blatantly had a helmet to helmet and didn't get suspended. You had a guy that just did a taunting and you try to justify it by suspending him. That's not player safety.”
Smith-Schuster drilled Burfict while the volatile Cincinnati linebacker was trying to chase after Pittsburgh running back Le'Veon Bell during a late Pittsburgh drive.
Smith-Schuster, the youngest player in the league, then stood over Burfict as the rest of the play developed, drawing unnecessary roughness and taunting penalties in the process.
Minutes later, Iloka launched head-first at Brown as Brown hauled in the gametying touchdown, drawing an unnecessary roughness penalty.