Sports Outside the Beltway

Carolina Panther Dante Wesley receives one game suspension

This for a hit he made in a game against Tampa Bay yesterday. From AP-

The NFL suspended Carolina Panthers special teams player Dante Wesley one game without pay Monday for launching himself into defenseless Tampa Bay returner Clifton Smith.

Wesley left his feet and hit Smith in the neck and head with his forearm and shoulder as Smith waited to field a punt late in the second quarter on Sunday. Smith sustained a concussion and both benches emptied onto the field. Wesley was immediately ejected.

Smith had not signaled for a fair catch and Wesley said he mistimed hitting him. But NFL executive vice president of football operations Ray Anderson called the act a flagrant violation of player safety rules.

“The prohibited contact in this case went well beyond simply interfering with the receiver,” Anderson wrote in a letter to Wesley. “Instead, by striking your defenseless opponent in the head and neck area, you committed an unnecessary and unnecessarily dangerous act that is specifically prohibited by the rules.

Carolina coach John Fox said the hit wasn’t malicious or intentional. It was brutal for sure and I don’t think the NFL was wrong in suspending Wesley.

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