This won’t go over well with Pittsburgh Steelers fans, but the NFL is seriously considering suspending rookie wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster for his bone-jarring hit on Vontaze Burfict in the team’s Week 13 win at Paul Brown Stadium.
The NFL is strongly weighing a one-game suspension for Steelers WR Juju Smith-Schuster for his hit on Vontaze Burfict, sources say. Those involved are expecting that to wind up being the case.— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) December 5, 2017
Per Mike Garafolo, sources are suggesting Smith-Schuster’s hit was egregious enough to warrant a suspension, and not just a fine. Throughout the day Tuesday this has been a very hot topic of debate around league circles.
- Was the hit clean, or just Smith-Schuster trying to spring Le’Veon Bell for more yardage?
- Did Smith-Schuster really target Burfict’s head?
- Is the discipline because of the hit, or the taunting?
All questions which have no real answer, but the NFL even thinking about suspending Smith-Schuster just seems to have some added baggage to it. Almost as if they are trying to set an example with the direction this Steelers vs. Bengals rivalry has been heading the past few years.
In the same year hits like the one by Dolphins linebacker Kiko Alonso on Joe Flacco were just fined and not suspendable offenses, it seems odd the league would crack down so hard on a rookie with no prior history of dirty play.
Nonetheless, it is the league’s hands, but it is safe to say if a suspension is handed down expect an appeal from Smith-Schuster and the NFLPA.
It is official, JuJu Smith-Schuster has been suspended one-game, along with George Iloka.
#Steelers WR JuJu Smith-Schuster & #Bengals S George Iloka have each been suspended 1 game for violations of safety-related playing rules.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 5, 2017
Here is the official letter from the NFL:
JuJu Smith-Schuster & George Iloka have each been suspended 1 game for violations of safety-related playing rules. pic.twitter.com/OyDq7Ca4jy— Michael Signora (@NFLfootballinfo) December 5, 2017
Smith-Schuster is planning on appealing his suspension, per sources:
Steelers’ WR JuJu Smith-Schuster is appealing his one-game suspension, per source.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 5, 2017