CINCINNATI -- NFL appeals officer Derrick Brooks has overturned the one-game suspension of Bengals safety George Iloka and reduced his punishment to a $36,464.50 fine, the league announced Wednesday.
Iloka's agent Ron Slavin said they felt a suspension was unnecessary for Iloka, who was flagged for unnecessary roughness on Monday night after a helmet-to-helmet hit on Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown that occurred in the end zone.
"We are grateful to appeals officer Derrick Brooks for reducing George's penalty from a one-game suspension to a fine equivalent to what players who were recently involved in similar plays received," Slavin said in a statement. "While we still believe George did nothing wrong on the play and the helmet-to-helmet contact was a result of Antonio Brown's lowering his head as he braced for contact, we felt and argued that a suspension was particularly egregious. We thank Derrick for acknowledging our concerns and making the proper decision."
Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said he was surprised by the suspension. He said part of Iloka's defense during the appeal was that the NFL has not been uniform in how it administers discipline this year.
The Bengals have been part of this discussion several times, as linebacker Vontaze Burfict was suspended five games (later reduced to three) for a preseason hit. Burfict and A.J. Green were both ejected from games this season but did not receive suspensions. Adam Jones was also suspended one game due to an offseason arrest.
Lewis said the play involving Iloka was the kind of play that happens "within the scope of football" and was not worthy of a suspension, as it wasn't intentional.
"This is still going to be, at the end of the day, football," Lewis said.