Published: Thu, December 07, 2017
Sport | By Billy Aguilar

Ben Roethlisberger defends JuJu Smith-Schuster for hit

Ben Roethlisberger defends JuJu Smith-Schuster for hit

The appeal was heard on Tuesday afternoon.

The hit flattened Burfict, and Smith-Schuster stood over him and flexed after, drawing penalty flags for both taunting and "unnecessary roughness".

As Smith-Schuster talked about his block on Burfict after the game, Steelers receiver Antonio Brown said in Smith-Schuster's direction, "Don't even trip, I got straight cash on it. KARMA".

Tuesday at 11 a.m., the National Football League issued a one-game suspension to Smith-Schuster, as well as to George Iloka of the Bengals for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Steelers receiver Antonio Brown. Brown held on to the ball to score the eventual tying touchdown. Iloka's appeal is still pending.

Smith-Schuster administered a blindside block on Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict during Pittsburgh's 23-20 win at Paul Brown Stadium. Burfict is one of the NFL's villains, an oft-punished player due to dirty hits.

Runyan shared similar sentiments in issuing Iloka's suspension.

As Williams points out, many current and National Football League players believe Smith-Schuster and Iloka shouldn't have been suspended at all - Mitchell among them. He was arguably lucky not to get ejected for this play.

"I'll stand by my statement last night that his actions after the hit are more disturbing than the actual hit", Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said Tuesday. Often times plays like that are teachable moments.

"He's a better sportsman than he displayed after the block". He's got to work hard so people understand the type of man he is from a sportsmanship standpoint and that's not something that's going to happen overnight.

However, that doesn't justify what Smith-Schuster did on Monday night. "We already play a high-injury sport", said, via "Obviously, we don't like the taunting, the standing over him, things like that".

He did say he didn't single out Burfict, Public Enemy No. 1 in Pittsburgh, in retaliation for past hits on Brown and RB Le'Veon Bell, ripping up Bell's knee late in the 2015 season. The unsportsmanlike conduct is not me. I shouldn't have done that. "I apologize for that and with that being said, I hope he gets better".

He also apologized in a postgame tweet.

Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown called it "karma".

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