Bills seeking revenge on Gronk? Big Ben questions fairness

NBC Sports Boston Report
NBC Sports Boston

Rob Gronkowski's late hit on Bills cornerback Tre'Davious White and his subsequent one-game suspension has drawn plenty of reaction around the NFL. Two of the most pointed responses have come from White himself and from Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger

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White, who was in the concussion protocol after the Gronk hit but was a limited participant at Bills practice Wednesday, texted ESPN analyst Ryan Clark - like White, a former LSU cornerback - with the message that might mean Gronk should be careful in the Bills-Pats rematch on Christmas Eve at Gillette Stadium.

"He said the whole hood want 'em, you know what I mean? The whole hood want Gronk, for sure," Clark told Ryen Russillo on ESPN Radio. "I mean, that's the exact text: ‘The whole hood want 'em.'...They want to put their hands on him," Clark said of the Bills.

Clark said he texted White that the Bills should have come to White's defense after the hit.

"I texted him, I thought they should have jumped [Gronk]," Clark said. "That was my initial thought, that teammates should have come to his defense," Clark said. "In some way, his teammates should have let Gronkowski know how dirty and how out of bounds that play was. So I was kind of disappointed in that."

Clark, a former Steeler who like other NFL cornerbacks has had his hands full trying to cover Gronkowski on the field, decried what he sees as a double-standard when it comes to the way the Patriots tight end is treated.

"The same thing that allows him the big, jolly frat guy persona that he portrays that allows him to do some of the things in the offseason that are non-Patriot-like that we laugh at, is the same thing that now people are going to use to not vilify him or not judge him in the way that he should be judged for such a terrible decision that put somebody else's career and livelihood in jeopardy," Clark said.

Another Steeler talking about Gronk was Roethlisberger, who told reporters on Wednesday that it wasn't fair that JuJu Smith-Schuster, his Pittsburgh teammate, got the same one-game suspension as the Patriots tight end for his hit on the Bengals' Vontez Burfict. 

"I don't like to compare players and suspensions, things like that, but if you look at what Gronk did and what JuJu did and they got the same suspension -- I don't know if that's necessarily fair," Roethlisberger said "But that's above all of our pay grades.

"I didn't think it was warranted," Roethlisberger said. "I thought a fine, a pretty steep fine, something like that. But, you know, I thought what happened -- the play that happened -- happened in the context of a football play. It wasn't away from the ball, wasn't a hit on a kicker, a defenseless player, it was a guy getting ready to make a tackle, a much bigger football player. Obviously, we don't like the taunting, the standing over him, things like that."

Gronkowski will return from his suspension just in time join the Patriots when they face the Steelers in Pittsburgh Dec. 17 with the No. 1 seed in the AFC likely on the line. 

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