League suspends Dante Wesley for one game

Eschewing the system of progressive discipline that typically applies to players who violate in-game safety rules, the NFL has suspended Panthers safety Dante Wesley for one game, without pay, based on his blow to the head and neck of Tampa Bay punt returner Clifton Smith during Sunday’s game between the two teams.

Wesley left his feet and launched himself at Smith while Smith was waiting to catch a punt. 

Wesley was penalized and ejected from the game.

Wrote NFL V.P. of football operations Ray Anderson in a letter to Wesley:  “The playing rules (Rule 10, Section 1, Article 1) specifically provide that a member of the kicking team is prohibited from interfering with a receiver attempting to catch an airborne kick.  The prohibited contact in this case went well beyond simply interfering with the receiver.  Instead, by striking your defenseless opponent in the head and neck area, you committed an unnecessary and unnecessarily dangerous act that is specifically prohibited by the rules. . . .

“Your actions are of particular concern in light of the emphasis that our office has placed on developing and enforcing rules designed to protect players from injury, including head and neck injuries.  The safety of our players is paramount to all of us in the NFL.”

Wesley will miss Sunday’s game against the Bills due to what the league has termed a “flagrant violation” of player safety rules.

37 responses to “League suspends Dante Wesley for one game

  1. He should have been suspended for the rest of the season. Without a doubt the cheapest shot in a very long time. Is there a fine coming as well?

  2. that was one of the worst hits I’ve seen in a very long time. A one game suspension is light, considering how much damage he could have cost.

  3. One Game? Should have been the rest of the year. That was as nasty a cheap shot as you’ll see. Carolina should cut him to send the message that they want no part of this moron.

  4. Here is the hit in case anyone missed it. It’s the first time I watched it and man that’s a horrible hit…


  5. Seriously, football is a violent game since when is mistiming a hit on a punt an offense which requires a suspension. It is a 15 yard penalty end of story. If you read Wesley`s comments in film study the returner would simulate starting to give a fair catch signal but never signal. He went in on that assumption and unfortunately got there before the ball. If you watch the replay it is a shoulder and forearm to the upper chest area. There is no blow to the head! Another example of the pussification of the NFL.

  6. Garbage. I watched the game yesterday, and he clearly signaled fair catch. Clifton Smith went to the Pro Bowl as a kick returner, and this was a chance to take out a quality player for a division rival. Wesley left his feet driving his shoulder into Smith’s helmet, and followed through with his forearm. Dante’s only intent was to injure Clifton Smith. One of the dirtier plays since Burtuzzi on Moore or Haynesworth on Gurode. Shouldn’t be tolerated, and he should’ve gotten 4 games minimum.

  7. @ Panther51
    Your defense for this is about as pathetic as your QB. He got there a solid 5 seconds before the ball even did. This isn’t the same as some lineman falling on P*ssy toes Brady’s shoelace.

  8. I think words like “paramount” and “flagrant” are lost on a dumbass like this guy. Throw his ass out for the season. The “toughguy” show some of these DBs try to put on is laughable and should be dealt with, harshly.

  9. The guy was waiting for the ball, that means he was defenseless watching ball in the air when this idiot hit him in that way, that deserves more than just one week.

  10. @Panther51 you’re an idiot – the ball hit the ground AFTER he was laying flat on the ground. Theres no possible justification for what he did. Pussification indeed.
    The idot should have a 4 game suspension – minimum.

  11. I agree with most others on here..he deserves to be out more than one game.
    I thought i heard somebody say just last week that the NFL has standards.
    Best wishes Clifton,hope you will be alright.

  12. The NFL and especially Goodell and his cronies are becoming soft and a JOKE!
    What kind of message is this sending…. Not much of one in my opinion! Try to Take out a quality player of a rival opposing team and get a slap on the wrist (1 Game). Seems like the punishment absolutely in NO way fits the crime. Dante Wesley is a perfect example of players that the NFL doesn’t need and CAN do without.

  13. Little Clifton Smith has been a bright spot on our roster since being drafted last year. He was only in the starting lineup for about half the season and still made the Pro Bowl.
    I have him on my fantasy team in a league that rewards bonuses for return yards. He gets a steady 40 plus points a game. Hope i dont come off sounding selfish by saying this,my thoughts are only that Cifton is alright.Just want to point out what a good player he is to folks that might not follow the Bucs closely.
    Dante ,you suck and are a smear on the fellows that play the game with pride.
    Waiting on the update on if he is a blood or crip.

  14. FWIW I agree with the suspension. You folks calling for suspensions for the rest of the season clearly have no concept of what is allowed by the CBA.
    @ chapnasty – Baker (the Panther punter) is pretty good with decent hang time but you are nuts if you think Wesley arrived “a solid 5 seconds before the ball”.

  15. Hey panther51 you moron.. he LAUNCHED himself on a defenseless return me who by the way the rules state you must give him 2 yards to catch the ball… and chapnasty why dont you shut the hell up!! really if your referring to the play where Terrell Thuggs purposely DOVE at Brady’s knee im glad the refs threw the flag. im sick of Qbs like Brady and Palmer getting their knees destroyed because of cheap shots by d-lineman.. and yes as much as i love him that includes Vince Wilfork

  16. “He got there a solid 5 seconds before the ball even did.”
    That’s pretty impressive on a punt with 4.5 seconds of hang time. He must have a flux-capacitor in his pads.

  17. Would have been better if he launched himself at his chest, going for head/neck area shows intent to harm.
    Should have been 4 games easy.

  18. Hell one game that just opened up the whole league for cheap hits take out a QB and get a week
    ITS OPEN SEASON IN THE NFL
    Carolina Should sit him or make him in active for the rest of the year

  19. Panther51 – you are a clueless moron. Clifton Smith can’t even talk yet – are you freaking kidding me pussification of the NFL?! you take that hit from Wesley and your lardass is dead.

  20. Watch the video. He hit him in the CHEST, not the head or throat area as the NFL stated. I realize the media likes to sensationalize everything and create more drama but I didn’t expect this from the NFL. You can’t change what the video shows.
    The video doesn’t show any attempt to signal a fair catch as Ron the Buc’s fans implied. It also doesn’t show any contact with Smith’s helmet.
    I too watched the game live and couldn’t believe that it occurred as it was stupid. Wesley was quoted on Charlotte.com “It was just really a tough situaiton. I wasn’t out there to deliberately hurt anybody. I was just out there to make a play….That’s not like me. I wasn’t trying to be a dirty player. With me being a hard player, it’s crazy that something like this would happen.”
    I also couldn’t believe that after the melee that every referee picked up their hats and flags (watch how many hats and flags are thrown signaling penalties in the video) and put them back in their pockets without one single unsportsmanlike conduct penalty called. I guess they were terrified that one of the 20 people (sellout crowd) in the stands was going to come after them.


  21. I saw a different picture. The Carolina player raise his arm and used his elbow to hit the player at the chin/throat area. It didn’t appear that the other Tampa Bay players needed a replay to make up their minds about the hit.
    It’s an idiotic hit. What was he thinking? I seriously doubt he was coached to make that hit. He’s just become Mr. Number One for Cheep Shots in 2009.
    GO STEELERS!

  22. Glad we not only have rules but actually enforce them. From the sofa seat it also looks like they consistantly under enforce the giving, of a fair catching receiver, adequate space rule as well.
    Too bad some the rules were not in place years ago. Maybe Jack Tatum (Raiders 1970’s for the decade challanged)would have been tossed. His on the field actions were criminal and he should have spent hard time behind bars.

  23. PhatCat90 – all that diatribe and all you have to say it was completely against all the rules. The ball wasn’t even close to landing so Clifton might not have even had a chance to signal for a fair catch. He jacked him up while he was looking straight up in the sky and Clifton still can’t talk yet; Bucs players had every right to be pissed at him. Thanks for your asinine justification, notice its only you and one other idiot Panther fan who are even attempting to defend him.

  24. Hey Panther fans!!
    Does it matter if the guy called a fair catch or not? No! Come on! You still can’t hit the guy before the ball gets there.
    And it’s not like he just had bad timing..he was not even close.
    No matter if he hit him in the chest, neck or head. I’m not a bucs fan, and now I’m going to reveal myself as a total moron….but i hope they send somebody after this guy the next time they play…

  25. Yo Wesley…keep your head on swivel. Because it’s on. Does it surprise anyone that Panther fan would try and defend this?…even though you have won of late against the Bucs. You will ALWAYS be left wanting at the end of the day wishing you could have finished at the Superbowl like the Bucs DID….Tampa is your nemesis. Whether it be the Lightning hoisting the Stanley cup, the Bucs lifting the Lombardi trophy or the fact that our baseball team went to the world series with one of the lowest payrolls in the league….YOU will ALWAYS be on the outside looking in hee haw jackboot losers…

  26. The league screwed up big time on this. One game? Are you freaking kidding me? If I were on that field that idiot would not have left in one piece. The guy also threw a punch at Aqib Talib after the play. And all this constitutes one game? He is 30 years old, third on the depth chart, and a special teams player for God’s sake. Who cares if we ever see this guy again? He is a disgrace to the game and the league needs to set an example with morons like this. What a joke NFL.

  27. I’m not defending Dante Wesley as his actions were completely stupid and reflective of the mess in Carolina this year.
    All of my comments were directed to those, including the NFL, that were making the hit to be more than it was. The Buc fans on this board claim he signaled fair catch and he did not. The Buc fans also claim ” Wesley left his feet driving his shoulder into Smith’s helmet, and followed through with his forearm” which he did not.
    It seems Kappa08 is still living in the past. The Buc’s have beat the Panthers 3 times since winning that Super Bowl in 2003. 3 wins and 10 losses to the Panthers in 6 years. Sounds more like a dingleberry than a nemisis.

  28. Hey chapnasty, why don’t you try and say that to Brady face to face. Yeah you haven’t got the balls, we know. You hide in the internet saying things you can’t back up. Have you played over 15 years of top competion football? Didn’t think so. You probably kill them with your fantasy team though, just like your women.

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