Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster injured Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict with an illegal block on Monday night, then added insult to injury by taunting Burfict as he lay motionless on the field. Smith-Schuster apologized afterward.
Smith-Schuster said he wasn’t singling Burfict out and didn’t even realize that’s who he hit.
“I didn’t know it was Burfict at first. All I saw was the first Bengal was going to tackle . . . and my instinct is I gotta block for my teammate,” Smith-Schuster said. “And me just playing ball, I hit him. After I seen the replay I think I should’ve held back a little bit more from blocking him. Also, I believe that that’s not me. I should’ve never stood over him. I apologize for that and with that being said, I hope he gets better.”
Burfict was carried off the field on a stretcher, but he reportedly got off the stretcher and was walking around in the Bengals’ locker room afterward. He is now in the NFL’s concussion protocol. Smith-Schuster will certainly face league discipline, both for the hit on Burfict and for taunting him afterward.