The Pittsburgh Steelers picked up a win over their heated rival Cincinnati Bengals 18-16 and the events surrounding the end of the game have been a hotly debated topic all week.
If you missed it, with the Steelers attempting to drive for the game-winning field goal, Ben Roethlisberger tried to hit wide receiver Antonio Brown over the middle. The pass fell incomplete but Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict made hard contact with Brown’s head and drew a 15-yard penalty. Following the hit, both teams came onto the field, and Adam “Pacman” Jones ended up drawing another 15-yard flag for bumping into an official in an attempt to get at Steelers linebackers coach Joey Porter.
Since the game, there have been judgments made on both sides about whether Burfict’s hit was a dirty play or not. Count former Steelers cornerback and current NFL Network analyst Ike Taylor among those who falls into the latter category.
“No I ain’t had no problem with it. I had no problem with it at all.” said Taylor on CBS Sports Radio’s Gio and Jones show when asked about the hit. “It’s just the person who hit him, his reputation has just been-he’s been that bully kind of guy. But, I remember at one point in time we had a few bullies in ’05. I get it. Would I have him on my team? Yeah, I definitely would. It’s just, he hit one of my former teammates Antonio Brown. Antonio understands, that’s the same hit-Markus Wheaton took the same kind of hit going across the middle against their safety, he just didn’t get a direct blow to the head. Man that’s football, we know what we sign up for.”
Burfict has since been fined and suspended for the first three games of next season by the league for the hit. He reportedly will appeal and wants to speak with commissioner Roger Goodell about the hit. Burfict’s case could argue that he didn’t hit Brown helmet to helmet, which is why Taylor thinks that Burfict’s play wasn’t as dirty as some think.
“I think he let up. In actuality if he really wanted to, he could have went helmet for helmet,” said Taylor. “And technically, he hit him with his shoulder pad. So, now I’m like, we’re whining and talking about how dirty of a hit it was: I thought he let up for one. Two, I thought the penalty was the right call. Three, man he could’ve went all in. He could’ve just said ‘forget it, I’m going to go helmet to helmet.'”
After the game, Jones said that he believes Brown may have been faking the injury. That’s one thought that Taylor isn’t willing to entertain.
“That man’s got to stop that. Ain’t no way somebody’s going to– ain’t no way man,” said Taylor. “You’ve been watching guys have concussions your whole life you’ve been playing football. You know them motions. That’s a concussion motion. The way he fell, the way his body went limp, the way he stayed down on the ground, those are “right now” symptoms of a concussion. Ain’t no way I’m going to let my emotions get into it and be like ‘Man, he was acting, I saw him wink at me. Stop it.”