New England Patriots' Rob Gronkowski suspended one game for cheap shot on Tre'Davious White

Tuesday, 05 December 2017, 06:26:03 AM. Rob Gronkowski was suspended one game without pay by the NFL on Monday for unnecessary roughness after he elbowed Tre'Davious White in the back of the helmet while the rookie

Rob Gronkowski was suspended one game without pay by the NFL on Monday for unnecessary roughness after he elbowed Tre'Davious White in the back of the helmet while the rookie cornerback was laying on the field with his face down following an interception.

Gronkowski has 72 hours to appeal his suspension with Derrick Brooks or James Thrash, the officers appointed jointly and compensated by the NFL and NFLPA to decide appeals of on-field player discipline.

"Your actions were not incidental, could have been avoided and placed the opposing player in risk of serious injury," NFL VP of football operations Jon Runyan wrote in a letter to Gronkowski notifying the Patriots All-Pro tight end of his punishment. "The Competition Committee has clearly expressed its goal of 'eliminating flagrant hits that have no place in our game.' Those hits involve the play you were involved in yesterday."

Gronkowski expressed remorse for the play, on which he was flagged for unnecessary roughness, afterward.

"I definitely want to apologize to No. 27 [White]," Gronkowski said, per the Boston Globe. "I'm not in the business of that. I mean, it was a lot of frustration, and I was just really frustrated at that moment. ...

"I don't really believe in type of shots like that. ..."

Gronkowski admitted his frustrations boiled over after he felt the officials missed a pass interference penalty on the interception, a continuation of what he thinks has been unfair treatment in the game and throughout his career.

Gronkowski may have a point — his imposing size and routine dominance has seemingly prevented him from getting calls others might — but there's no debating what a dirty play he committed.

Bill Belichick also apologized to Bills coach Sean McDermott in their post-game exchange, calling it "a BS play."

The cheap shot marred another dominant outing for Gronkowski against Buffalo, the team he grew up cheering for in his hometown. Gronkowski had 9-147 receiving, his sixth 100-yard day of his career vs. the Bills.

The Patriots are battling the Pittsburgh Steelers, also 10-2, for the first overall seed in the AFC. The two clubs will meet in Week 15 in Pittsburgh, when Gronkowski will be eligible to return from his suspension.

The NFL last week suspended Broncos CB Aqib Talib and Raiders WR Michael Crabtree for their involvement in a huge scuffle two weeks ago in Oakland, and the league is taking a harder look at on-field punishment that coincides with its increased attention to player safety.

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