The NFL suspended Panthers DB Dante Wesley for one game without pay because of a flagrant violation of player safety rules during Sunday’s game against the Buccaneers.
Wesley left his feet, launched himself and made shoulder and forearm contact with the neck and head area of Bucs PR Clifton Smith, who hadn’t caught or touched the ball. Wesley was ejected from the game after the hit.
Wesley will miss the Panthers’ Oct. 25 game against the Bills because of the suspension.
In a letter to Wesley, NFL executive vice president of football operations Ray Anderson wrote: “The playing rules (Rule 10, Section 1, Article 1) specifically provide that a member of the kicking team is prohibited from interfering with a receiver attempting to catch an airborne kick. The prohibited contact in this case went well beyond simply interfering with the receiver. 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.”
Anderson added: “Your actions are of particular concern in light of the emphasis that our office has placed on developing and enforcing rules designed to protect players from injury, including head and neck injuries. The safety of our players is paramount to all of us in the NFL.”