Steelers pass rusher Alex Highsmith apologized for his part in an ill-timed sack celebration.
With Highsmith lying on his back after a sack late in Sunday’s game, Steelers defensive end Demarvin Leal did fake chest compressions on Highsmith. Steelers defenders had used the celebration earlier this season, but this one came six days after Bills safety Damar Hamlin went into cardiac arrest during Monday Night Football.
Highsmith said he didn’t make the connection until after the game when he saw that video of his celebration had gone viral.
“I just don’t want people to think of me that way and think I was doing anything [intentional],” Highsmith said, via Brian Batko of the Post-Gazette. “Because I would never, ever, ever, ever want to do that intentionally, and I never, ever would do that.”
Highsmith was contrite Monday, and he surely meant every word of his apology.
The Steelers nominated Highsmith for the 2022 Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award, given annually to an NFL player “who best demonstrates the qualities of on-field sportsmanship, including fair play, respect for the game and opponents, and integrity in competition.”
So, the tone-deaf celebration was out of character, a spontaneous mistake.
“I just want people to know that I have nothing but love for Damar and his family,” Highsmith said. “When that happened, I was shook for a couple days. Me and my wife, we were watching the game, we immediately saw it and intentionally started praying, intentionally prayed for him, his parents, the doctors, the nurses. Because me and her, we’re both followers of Christ. We both believe that prayer is powerful, and I’m just thankful for the miraculous work God has done with Damar’s life. I just want people to know that there was nothing intentional about that. It was never planned. None of that.”