Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski was suspended one game for hitting Buffalo Bills defensive back Tre’Davious White after a play on Sunday, the NFL announced Monday.
“Your actions were not accidental, could have been avoided and placed the opposing player at risk of serious injury,” wrote NFL vice president of football operations Jon Runyan. “The Competition Committee has clearly expressed its goal of ‘eliminating flagrant hits that have no place in our game.’ Those hits include the play you were involved in yesterday.”
Gronkowski has three days to appeal the suspension, which ESPN is reporting he intends to do.
Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski will appeal his one-game suspension, per source.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 4, 2017
A one-game suspension will cost Gronkowski a $250,000 game check, a $31,250 game-day roster bonus, and will make it that much tougher to reach his $5.5 million incentive level (90 percent of snaps, or 80 catches, or 1,200 yards, or 14 touchdowns).
While White was lying face-down on the ground, Gronkowski dove onto White and slammed his arm into the back of White’s helmet. Gronkowski was penalized for unnecessary roughness and many called the play “dirty,” but he was not ejected. The hit sent White into the concussion protocol, according to Bills coach Sean McDermott.
Gronkowski apologized to White while addressing the media after the game.
“First of all, I definitely want to apologize to [White]. I’m not in the business of that,’’ said Gronkowski. “It was a lot of frustration and I was just really frustrated at that moment. It just happened naturally through emotions and frustration. I don’t really believe in those types of shots like that, but just due to frustration and the game of football, emotions, that’s what happened.’’
White appeared to hold Gronkowski on the play leading up to the altercation, then pushed off him to make an interception.