NFL gives Steelers slap on the wrist for illegal hits vs. Browns
By Thomas Moore
The Cleveland Browns took some cheap shots from the Pittsburgh Steelers and now the league has laid out its own punishment, even if the penalties are pretty light.
The NFL handed down a light form of punishment on Friday against a handful of Pittsburgh Steelers for their illegal actions against the Cleveland Browns during their Week 1 games.
While no one was hit with a suspension for dirty play – not surprising since it is the Steelers but still a bit questionable – the league did impose fines on three Pittsburgh defenders, according to USA Today:
- Linebacker Ryan Shazier was fined $25,000 for a late hit on Cleveland cornerback DeShone Kizer
- Cornerback William Gay was fined $25,000 for a late hit on Cleveland wide receiver Ricardo Louis
- Safety J.J. Wilcox was fined $25,000 for a late hit on Cleveland wide receiver Corey Coleman
According to ESPN, Shazier is planning to appeal his fine because, get this, he wasn’t aware the Kizer was going to slide at the end of his scramble, despite the fact that every quarterback slides at the end of a run to avoid cheap shots:
"“I didn’t see him slide much on film. I wasn’t expecting him to slide. I was just going in there to make a tackle like I do any tackle. It’s just part of the game. Sometimes they get you for those things.”"
Yeah, sometimes the league just has to fine you for delivering a cheap shot.
The Steelers had four unnecessary roughness penalties on the day, only T.J. Watt escaped a fine, part of an effort that saw Pittsburgh amass 144 penalties yards in the game.
It also continues a trend that the league really needs to take a closer look at as the Steelers have been among the league leaders in unnecessary roughness penalties for several years now, according to The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:
"Last season, they were tied with Baltimore for 11 unnecessary roughness penalties. In 2015, they tied for fourth with 11, and in 2014 they tied for seventh with eight. They have not been out of the top 10 since 2012 when they had only two all season — half as many as they had in this year’s opener."
All in all it is not surprising that the NFL didn’t hand down a harsher penalty, especially on Shazier. The Browns are the Browns, after all, and Kizer is just a rookie quarterback. Put that same hit on New England’s Tom Brady or Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers and there is little doubt the NFL would view it differently.
And let’s not even get into what would happen if Kizer grabbed a hold of Houston defensive end J.J. Watt’s leg and gave it a twist the way Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger did to Cleveland defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah on Sunday.
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But since it was the Browns, it was just another day at the office for the Steelers as far as the NFL was concerned.