Pouncey: If JuJu Smith-Schuster is dirty Gronk should be suspended three games

When the Steelers host the Ravens on Sunday night they'll do so without rookie wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, who was suspended for one game after doing this to Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict on Monday:

In that same game, Bengals safety George Iloka tried to separate Antonio Brown's head from the rest of his body, and he too was subsequently suspended one game.

Both Smith-Schuster and Iloka appealed the suspension but only Iloka's was overturned.

Smith-Schuster's teammate, center Maurkice Pouncey, wasn't thrilled with that development.

"What's the difference [between the two hits]?" Pouncey asked, via Steel City Insider Jim Wexell. "How was that hit any different? Because [Brown] got up after he scored? What if [Brown] would've laid there the entire time? C'mon. It's just stupid, man. My thing is that dude (Burfict) kicked Rosie (Nix) in the face and nothing happened."

Pouncey is referring to the October meeting between the Bengals and Steelers when Burfict kicked Steelers fullback Roosevelt Nix:

Burfict wasn't suspended.

Meanwhile, Pouncey was just getting warmed up.

"And then JuJu gets suspended for that? It's stupid. It just blows my mind that the league would even have us answering that stupid-ass question. It kinda pisses me off because that kid there plays hard. He's such a great kid. He's not a dirty player. If that's the case then make Gronk sit two games, three games. How can you justify that compared to what JuJu did? That's just stupid."

Pouncey is referring to Rob Gronkowski's after-the-whistle cheap shot on Tre-Davious White that left the Bills cornerback with a concussion.

Gronkowski was suspended one game.

"Honestly, five years ago no one says anything about JuJu's hit; even a couple years ago," Pouncey continued. "The Gronk thing? That's never been allowed. And they're going to make it the same suspension? That's just like a smack in the face to us. Stupid. Even A.J. Green, he got into a fight and didn't get suspended. There were blows thrown. And you're going to suspend a kid for playing hard? Stuff that's inside the game? That's stupid. Whoever's making that rule is a dumbass."

This is nothing new for players, who have no idea what punishments to expect because the league appears to have no idea how to consistently and fairly administer those punishments. Here's what NFL VP of Football Operations Jon Runyan wrote in a letter to Smith-Schuster explaining why he was suspended.

"You are suspended for the dangerous and unsportsmanlike acts you committed during the fourth quarter of last night's game. Specifically, with 7:10 remaining, on a passing play to a running back, you lined up a defender and delivered a violent and unnecessary blindside shot to his head and neck area. You then 'celebrated' the play by standing over him and taunting him. The contact you made with your opponent placed the opposing player at risk of serious injury and could have been avoided. Your conduct following the hit fell far below the high standards of sportsmanship expected of an NFL player."

In related news: Here's Julio Jones delivering a similar block on Sunday:

Jones was neither flagged nor suspended. And that's the point the players are making -- the league's inconsistency is maddening.

If you enjoyed Pouncey railing against the establishment then you won't want to miss Mike Mitchell calling out everyone from Gronk to Roger Goodell to Andy Dalton to Matt Hasselbeck from the other side of the locker room.

CBS Sports Writer

Ryan Wilson has been an NFL writer for CBS Sports since June 2011, and he's covered five Super Bowls in that time. Ryan previously worked at AOL's FanHouse from start to finish, and Football Outsiders... Full Bio

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