Was Damontae Kazee’s Suspension An Overreaction?

Was Damontae Kazee's Suspension An Overreaction?

2023 South Side Questions: Was Damontae Kazee’s Suspension An Overreaction?

The Steelers are now back at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, facing down a long regular season that looks a lot more promising given how things have gone leading up to it.

Finishing just above .500 last year, they anticipate being able to compete with any team in the league this season with second-year QB Kenny Pickett leading the way.

They’ve done a great deal to address what they identified as their shortcomings during the offseason, which included addressing the offensive and defensive lines as well as the secondary and the inside linebacker room, which is nearly entirely different from last year.

The results have been positive so far.

Even well into the regular season and beyond, there are going to be plenty of questions that need answered. When will the core rookies get to play, or even start? Is the depth sufficient where they upgraded?

Can they stand toe-to-toe with the Bengals and the other top teams in the league? We’ll try to frame the conversation in relevant ways as long as you stick with us throughout the season, as we have for many years.

In a move that came to most as a surprise, the NFL announced yesterday that it was suspending Steelers S Damontae Kazee for the remainder of the season.

Flagged for unnecessary roughness following a hit on Indianapolis Colts WR Michael Pittman Jr. on Saturday that left him concussed, Kazee was further punished as a repeat offender.

Though his brother revealed that all but one of his previous fines earlier this season for unnecessary roughness—most of which were not flagged in-game—were rescinded upon appeal, the NFL is nevertheless treating him as a habitual offender.

It’s very rare for players to be suspended for actions that led to their ejection during a game, particularly early in the game, as the ejection itself is typically viewed as sufficient punishment for the infraction.

Repeat offenses change the game, of course.

But to suspend a player for three-plus games who had never been suspended before is a significant move that may feel more like an attempt to set an example.

The league made no mention in its public letter about the decision of the fact that most of Kazee’s fines were rescinded, or the fact that most of his infractions were not penalized in-game.

A former Steelers safety himself, Colts safeties coach Mike Mitchell took issue with the league’s decision to suspend Kazee.

It has been questioned exactly how a player is supposed to defend the play in question, Pittman diving with full extension to attempt to secure the catch. The alternative seems to be simply allowing the catch.

Kazee is appealing the suspension, which I would imagine has a fair chance of getting reduced—but then again, I didn’t think he would be suspended at all.

 The NFL does have a history of reducing suspensions, having most recently done so with Denver Broncos S Kareem Jackson—who was then promptly suspended again.

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