While everyone was paying attention to the fallout from Odell Beckham’s assault on Josh Norman (with good reason), another late, dangerous hit targeting a player’s head flew a little under the radar. The NFL noticed, but decided Steelers center Cody Wallace launching himself head-first at Broncos safety David Bruton Jr. was only fine-worthy.
Last night the NFL announced Wallace will be fined $23,152 for this:
This longer clip is valuable to show just how late and unnecessary Wallace’s hit was.
That’s really bad. Bruton says it’s just typical Steelers football, and promised revenge.
“Everybody’s making a big deal of Odell’s deal but nothing on him, and I’m pretty sure my head was down, the play was over, whistle was blown,” Bruton said. “That’s just what they do. They’re dirty and he left his feet trying to take me out. So, I just know if we have to play them again, it’s not going to go well. We’re definitely going to make sure that he’s going to feel it.”
Wallace was contrite, saying “it was dangerous what I did. You can’t do stuff like that out there.” He partially justified his actions by saying he was trying to protect WR Antonio Brown, who he believed was vulnerable after taking a (not as) late helmet-to-helmet hit of his own. If you want one reason Odell Beckham was suspended and Wallace fined, look to the NFL’s own statements, which harped on the fact that Beckham committed “multiple violations of safety-related playing rules.” Wallace had just the one.
Still, Denver CB Aqib Talib says that one violation was too dangerous and egregious to let Wallace play this weekend.
“[Wallace’s hit] definitely put somebody’s life in danger. I don’t know how that goes, though. I don’t know what determines who gets suspended for a game and who doesn’t. But I saw it live. It was definitely a dirty play. It was unsportsmanlike. It got 15 yards, and he got a little slap on the wrist.
“I guess that’s how the league goes.”