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Bengals Accuse JuJu Smith-Schuster Of A Dirty Hit; Antonio Brown Says He Likes It

Whether you’re wearing black and gold or black and orange probably determines your perspective on JuJu Smith-Schuster’s block tonight. Smith-Schuster dished out this block on Vontaze Burfict in the fourth quarter, drawing a personal foul and taunting penalty.

After the game, Bengals’ receiver A.J. Green called the hit a dirty one. This from the Trib’s Chris Adamski.

Green wasn’t alone. Bengals’ defensive linemen Chris Smith also referred to it as a “dirty” hit.

Antonio Brown had a different spin on it. He told reporters he liked seeing the hit. Again, from Adamski.

Via this video from ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, Brown called out “karma” when JuJu was asked about it.

Whether or not it was a dirty hit is left up to each person but it’s certainly an illegal one. No matter what Smith-Schuster’s intentions may have been, he made contact with the head area of Burfict, who is considered a defenseless player.

Per the NFL’s rulebook, under the “Hines Ward Rule,” players are protected from crackback blocks.

“Forcibly hitting the defenseless player’s head or neck area with the helmet, facemask, forearm, or shoulder, even if the initial contact is lower than the player’s neck, and regardless of whether the defensive player also uses his arms to tackle the defenseless player by encircling or grasping him.”

And that’s what Smith-Schuster did. After the game, he apologized on Twitter.

Though there’s some dumb comments being thrown around, maybe none moreso than ESPN’s Sean McDonough’s, who tried to scold Smith-Schuster for making that hit after Ryan Shazier’s injury, the bottom line is that it is an illegal hit. Whether you like the rule or not. And standing over him like he did only makes the optics look worse. Mike Tomlin was quick to call that out after the game.

“That’s not how we play,” Tomlin told reporters following the win.

Expect him to be fined, $24,309 for either “impermissible use of the helmet” or hitting a defenseless player, per the NFL’s fine policy.

Burfict, despite being carted off, jumped out of the cart soon after and appears to be ok. The NFL will be sending out plenty of envelops this week.

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