During a Week Seven game between the Steelers and the Bengals on Sunday Night Football, the Steelers were in danger of running out of time on the play clock. Coincidentally (or not), receiver Emmanuel Sanders fell to the ground and grabbed his leg.
It’s unclear whether he loudly asked, “Whhhhhhyyyyyyy?”
The play-clock stopped, Sanders hopped off the field (presumably on his good leg), Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth of NBC were openly skeptical, and Sanders returned to the game. The officials wisely took no action; at a time when they are expected not only to administer the rules but also to serve as “first responders” from a health and safety standpoint, the last thing they’re going to do is ignore a possible injury.
But the possible smoke-fire connection has caught the league’s attention. According to the Associated Press, Sanders said Wednesday that he’ll be meeting with the NFL at some point to discuss the situation.
Sanders claims that he had a sudden cramp, which went away with the consumption of liquids and massaging from trainers. If he can stick to that story under the hot lights of 345 Park Avenue, there’s really nothing the NFL can do.
That said, the mere fact that Sanders will have to sit down with folks from the league office could serve as a deterrent for any other player who is tempted to get a “cramp” at a strategically advantageous juncture of a game. Given the proliferation of no-huddle offenses, we’re surprised that “cramping” hasn’t been more prevalent.