Mack: Burfict Got What Was Coming To Him

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Mack: Burfict Got What Was Coming To Him

Steelers rookie receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster absolutely lit up the Cincinnati star on the play, sending him crashing to the ground, which allowed Bell to keep on running towards the first down marker.

Smith-Schuster earned two penalty flags for a crackback block on Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict in the fourth quarter of Pittsburgh's 23-20 win.

Burfict was carted off the field, and he gave the thumbs up as he left to the locker room.

Seeing an opportunity to take a free shot at Burfict, Smith-Schuster stuck his helmet into Burfict's jaw on a block, then stood over Burfict when he was down and taunted the clearly injured man.

But a quick scroll through Twitter on Tuesday revealed a common theme: Many current and former National Football League players thought Gronkowski's hit was worse than Smith-Schuster's.

There's not a set rule for what gets a player suspended. The block itself was bad, but at least he was trying to help his team by taking out Burfict, though there's no question at all that hitting Burfict that high and that hard was completely unnecessary. Asked if any plays from the Bengals bothered him, he said he was focused on "the nature in which [his players] perform" and trusts Cincinnati coach Marvin Lewis to do the same. Burfict is one of the NFL's villains, an oft-punished player due to dirty hits.

Roethlisberger felt Smith-Schuster deserved a fine.

"I didn't think it was warranted", he said.

Smith-Schuster will miss the Steelers' home game against Baltimore on Sunday night.

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.

"I'll acknowledge there were some unfortunate things in that game that we don't need in our game, by both sides", Tomlin said.

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. "I can assess a judgment on the fact that he stood over him and that's not how we play and that's not reflective of the sportsman he is". The unsportsmanlike conduct is not me.

Antonio Brown called the hit karma.

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