During the Steelers' victory over the Bengals on Monday night, Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster beat Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict with a high blockand ended your night But according to Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, that block was not even the worst part of the play. Instead, it was how Smith-Schuster reacted after leveling Burfict when he stood over him and taunted him.
On Tuesday, Tomlin told reporters that Smith-Schuster's decision to mock Burfict was worse than the blow itself.
I have not had the opportunity to watch the television copy frequently, especially in HD, that offers the best, "said Tomlin, for NFL.com" I will back my statement last night that his actions after the coup They are more disturbing than the blow itself. Often, games of that type are teaching moments. When you look at it you have the opportunity to talk about ways you can be more secure and so on. He is a better athlete than he showed after the block and you have to admit it. He has to work hard for people to understand the kind of man he is from the sporting point of view and that is not something that will happen overnight. That's the reality of plays like that. "
It's not Completely wrong, the block itself was bad, but at least I was trying to help your team by eliminating Burfict, although there's no doubt that touching that Burfict so high and so difficult it was completely unnecessary.
But Smith-Schuster made the situation a million times worse if he stood on Burfict and taunted him.
and in his letter to the wide receiver, NFL Vice President of Football Operations, Jon Runyan, specifically cited Smith-Schuster's decision to mock Burfict.
"You are suspended for dangerous and unsportsmanlike acts that you committed during the fourth quarter of the game of the previous night. Specifically, with 7:10 remaining, in a game passing a runner, you lined up a defender and gave a violent and unnecessary shot to the head and neck area, "Runyan wrote." Then you celebrated & # 39; the play, standing on him and making fun of him. The contact you made with your opponent placed the opposing player at risk of serious injury and could have been prevented. Your behavior after the coup fell far short of the high standards of sportsmanship expected of an NFL player. "
It is worth noting that Smith-Schuster apologized after the game, before being suspended, specifically for being at Burfict's side
It is also worth noting thatfor his high blow to Antonio Brown later in the same unit.
If you did not catch the game, you missed an exciting return victory for the Steelers and– from the Smith-Schuster block until Iloka hit Ryan Shazier's Back Injury, Given how badly the game came in the last quarter, the NFL probably had no choice but to issue suspensions to send a message that such hits do not fit in today's NFL.