Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier delivered a brutal helmet-to-helmet hit that gave Bengals running back Giovani Bernard a concussion on Saturday night. But while it was brutal, it was also legal.
Shazier told reporters he hasn’t received a fine notice from the NFL.
“Not yet,” Shazier said. “I hope not. I felt like it was a clean hit. I’m not out here trying to hurt anyone. I’m just out here trying to play football.”
The NFL informs players by Wednesday if they’re fined, so if Shazier hasn’t heard yet, that means he’s not getting fined. And that’s because the hit was not a foul. Hits with the crown of the helmet are only illegal under certain defined circumstances, and Shazier’s hit didn’t qualify as illegal. Brutal, yes. Illegal, no.
In fact, it’s really the Steelers who have a right to complain about the call on that play: Bernard fumbled and Shazier picked up the ball and had a clear path to the end zone for a touchdown, but the officials wrongly blew the play dead.
Shazier, for his part, isn’t complaining. He says he’s glad he wasn’t fined and glad it sounds like Bernard will be OK.