PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) – Coming off a contentious win Monday night in Cincinnati, Steelers safety Mike Mitchell Wednesday went on a profanity-laced rant for over four minutes on the state of NFL on-field and off-field discipline.
The tirade came in light of news that Bengals safety George Iloka had his one-game suspension for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Steelers receiver Antonio Brown reduced to a just a fine, while another Steelers wideout, Juju Smith-Schuster, did not win a similar appeal after a crack-back block and taunt of injured Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict.
“This is a combat, contact sport,” Mitchell said, while seemingly supporting Iloka’s innocence. “There’s going to be injuries. If you don’t want to get injured then don’t come out here. This is for real men. This is a man’s game. If you want be a little kid, you don’t want get your (expletive) hit, then don’t come out here.”
Mitchell was also highly critical of the NFL on Twitter, where he called for Commissioner Roger Goodell to be fired as news broke that Goodell signed a five-year contract extension. He also took a shot at ESPN analyst Matt Hasselbeck.
“At first, you’re taking our money, but now I’ve got (expletives) like Matt Hasselbeck calling me a dirty player and trying my character and we’ve never met before,” he said. “I donate more money to Cincinnati underprivileged kids than, probably, the people on the Bengals.”
The suspension for Smith-Schuster is also drawing criticism due to the similar one-game ban of New England tight end Rob Gronkowski. On Sunday, after a play, Gronkowski used a heavily padded elbow to drive a blow into the back of the head of Bills cornerback Tre’Davious White, resulting in a concussion.
“It’s the stupidest thing in the world,” center Maurkice Pouncey said. “For (Smith-Schuster) to have the same suspension as Gronk is just embarrassing. It’s ridiculous. Just fine him. You suspend a kid for playing hard. It makes no sense. And I guess (Iloka’s suspension) got overturned because AB got up and scored a touchdown?”
The Monday night victory came at a cost for the Steelers, as linebacker Ryan Shazier was hospitalized in Cincinnati with a spinal injury.
We were provided with an update earlier today on Shazier’s status from Steelers Director of Communications Burt Lauten.
But Mitchell was emphatic that situations like that are in the nature of the game.
“At the end of the day, this is football,” he said. “If you want to see flag football, then let’s take our pads off. That would make it easier for me, cause then I don’t have to wear heavy (expletive).”