Steelers Wide Receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster Suspended for Ravens Game


The Ravens may have one fewer Steelers weapon to worry about in Heinz Field, as rookie wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster has been suspended one game for violating the league's safety-related playing rules.

However, ESPN's Adam Schefter is reporting that Smith-Schuster is appealing, which leaves his availability for Sunday's game in limbo.

Smith-Schuster laid a brutal block on Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict on Monday Night Football, then stood over him as if to taunt Burfict. Burfict was carted off the field with a head injury.

In a letter to Smith-Schuster notifying him of the suspension, NFL Vice President of Football Operations Jon Runyan wrote the following:

"You lined up a defender and delivered a violent and unnecessary blindside shot to his head and neck area. You then 'celebrated' the play by standing over him and taunting him. The contact you made with your opponent placed the opposing player at risk of serious injury and could have been avoided. Your conduct following the hit fell far below the high standards of sportsmanship expected of an NFL player."

On Tuesday, Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin said it's a "teachable moment" for Smith-Schuster, who is the youngest player in the league. Tomlin said it will take time for Smith-Schuster to repair his image.

"His actions after the hit are more disturbing than the hit itself," Tomlin said. "He's a better sportsman than he displayed after the block."

Smith-Schuster is the second on the Steelers behind NFL leader Antonio Brown in receiving yards (585) and receiving touchdowns (five). He had back-to-back breakout games in Weeks 8 and 10 in which he posted 12 catches for 290 yards and two touchdowns.

Without the rookie on the field, the Steelers will likely give wide receiver Martavis Bryant more targets behind Brown. Bryant has 31 catches for 386 yards and two touchdowns.

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