Steelers rookie wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster was been suspended one game each by the NFL for violating league safety rules, after the fourth quarter hit of Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict in the fourth quarter of Pittsburgh’s 23-20 victory Monday night.
In addition, cornerback George Iloka was penalized for unnecessary roughness for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown, and was hit with a one-game suspension as well.
Jon Runyan, the NFL’s vice president of football operations, ruled that Smith-Schuster “delivered a violent and unnecessary blindside shot to (Burfict’s) head and neck area.” Burfict left the game on a stretcher and did not return.
The wide out did appeal the suspension, but late on Tuesday it was upheld, meaning that he won’t be on the field Sunday night at home in a critical home game against the Ravens that basically could clinch the AFC North.
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger spoke about his rookie wide out on 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh, and said he felt the taunting penalty Smith-Schuster got was one he needs to handle better.
“I told him afterwards, I said listen, ‘Love the effort, love how you’re trying to help your teammate get open. Standing over a guy, uncalled for.’ And he knew it. I think he knew it right away. I think he regretted it and he genuinely felt bad about that.”