New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski has been suspended for one game after his egregious hit on Buffalo Bills cornerback Tre’Davious White during Sunday’s game in Buffalo, the NFL announced Monday afternoon
Gronkowski and White were battling for the ball on a deep pass, and while White could have been flagged for pass interference – Gronkowski and his teammates were calling for a penalty – the Bills rookie was not.
White intercepted Tom Brady as he was falling backward, and one of Gronkowski’s Patriots teammates touched the defensive back down. But then a couple of seconds later, while White was still on his belly clutching the football, Gronkowski came in, lowered his shoulder and jumped into the back of White’s head, a stupid move from the tight end.
Gronkowski was flagged for unnecessary roughness, but was not ejected from the game.
White is currently in concussion protocol.
After the game, Patriots coach Bill Belichick was overheard apologizing to Buffalo coach Sean McDermott for Gronkowski’s actions.
In its announcement, the league said vice president of football operations Jon Runyan said the suspension was warranted because of the rules Gronkowski broke: “he both forcibly contacted a runner when he was out of bounds and threw his body against or on a player who should not have reasonably anticipated such contact by an opponent, before or after the ball is dead.”
In a letter to Gronkowski, Runyan wrote, “Your actions were not incidental, could have been avoided and placed the opposing player at risk of serious injury. The Competition Committee has clearly expressed its goal of ‘eliminating flagrant hits that have no place in our game.’ Those hits include the play you were involved in yesterday.”
Gronkowski will appeal the decision, via NFL Network. Currently, he is suspended for the Patriots’ Week 14 Monday night game against the Miami Dolphins.
The appeal will likely be heard on Tuesday, by either James Thrash or Derrick Brooks, the appeals officers jointly appointed and compensated by the NFL and NFL Players Association.
Rob Gronkowski has been suspended for 1 game for violation of unnecessary roughness rules pic.twitter.com/ySlimskMdh
— Michael Signora (@NFLfootballinfo) December 4, 2017
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