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Steelers WR Smith-Schuster, Bengals CB Iloka each suspended one game for illegal hits

Pittsburgh Steelers rookie wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster and Cincinnati Bengals cornerback George Iloka have been suspended one game each by the NFL for violating league safety rules.

According to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter, both players plan to appeal their suspensions.

Smith-Schuster was suspended for a vicious fourth-quarter block on Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict, who was in a defenseless posture, according to the NFL’s ruling.

“The contact you made with your opponent placed the opposing player at risk of serious injury and could have been avoided,” NFL vice president of football operations Jon Runyan said in issuing the suspension. “Your conduct following the hit fell far below the high standards of sportsmanship expected of an NFL player.”

Ioka was suspended for a hit on Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown in the end zone in the fourth quarter when Brown was deemed to be a defenseless receiver. Brown held on to the ball to score the eventual tying touchdown.

“The Competition Committee has clearly expressed its goal of ‘eliminating flagrant hits that have no place in our game’ and has encouraged the League office to suspend offenders for egregious violations such as the one you committed last night,” Runyan said in his ruling.

Neither player was ejected from the game for their hits.

The suspensions bring the total to three from on-field actions in Week 13. On Monday, New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski was suspended one game for a late hit on the Buffalo Bills’ Tre’Davious White.

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