Richard Seymour isn't considered a dirty player. But what he did to Ben Roethlisberger might be the dirtiest deed in the NFL this season."I haven't seen a quarterback get punched since I've been in this league," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said.But that's exactly what happened late in the first half Sunday during the Steelers' 35-3 rout of the Oakland Raiders.
Just after Roethlisberger threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, Seymour, a defensive tackle, blind-sided Roethlisberger by slamming his right hand into Roethlisberger's face mask.
Seymour slugged Roethlisberger just as he was congratulating some of his offensive linemen. Roethlisberger, who was not taunting Seymour or any of the Raiders, was not injured.
"That was real cheap," Steelers guard Chris Kemoeatu said.
Right after Seymour slugged Roethlisberger, Kemoeatu retaliated by punching Seymour. Both players were flagged for offsetting personal foul penalties, but Seymour was immediately ejected from the game by referee Tony Corrente.
Roethlisberger, who threw for three touchdowns and ran for a score, chose not to criticize Seymour, a 10th-year pro who played in five Pro Bowls when he played for Patriots.
"Yeah, it blew my mind ... (but) I don't want to dwell on the negative of the game," Roethlisberger said. "I was not expecting that from him."
"I am definitely surprised," Kemoeatu said. "He's been in this business for a long time. I thought that was uncalled for on his part."As for his part: "I overreacted. Me and him were exchanging words and punches the whole game. I'm not mad I did it. I might get a FedEx package (with a fine letter from the NFL) on Monday. But I'd do it again if I had to. I thought it was real cheap on his part."While Seymour's punch on Roethlisberger was a cheap shot, it figures to cost him a bundle. He'll likely be fined by the NFL and possibly suspended.So says Steelers linebacker James Harrison, who's been fined three times this year for a total of $100,000. One of Harrison's fines cost him $75,000."The play's over with. Ben's celebrating with his teammates, and you punch him in the head," Harrison said. "I don't know. We'll see. I'm playing within the rules of the game as far as I'm concerned. I make a hit that I can't stop from making and the guy (Cleveland's Mohamed Massaquoi) lowers his head into my hitting angle, and they fine (me) $75,000."So what do they do to a guy who actually punched a guy in his face?'After the game, Seymour apologized and said he was caught of guard when he noticed Roethlisberger moving toward him."First and foremost, I apologize to my teammates," Seymour said. "You never want to do anything to hurt the team."You always want to protect yourself, but there's no excuse. I'm not sure why (Roethlisberger) ran up on me, I just turned around ... it was a natural reaction."