New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Wednesday he thinks players have respect for the game. But he also said hopefully some of the violent hits that occurred in the Pittsburgh-Cincinnati game on Monday Night Football never happens again.
Belichick made his remarks on a conference call with Miami Dolphins media.
Belichick was asked whether, in light of the recent wave of fines and suspensions for hits, and the back injury to Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier, should players reflect on safety as it pertains to themselves and opponents.
"I think that's being done," he said. "I think the league's been very pro-active on that. I think the players have respect for each other and have a lot of respect for the game. It's not perfect but I think players do and coaches do as well. We all do.
"Nobody wants to ... some of the things that happened in the game nobody wants to see and hopefully it won't happen again."
The Pittsburgh-Cincinnati game saw numerous penalties and injuries, raising safety questions nationwide.
NFL.com, citing NFL Research, said the seven "extracurricular penalties" -- unsportsmanlike conduct, roughing the passer, unnecessary roughness, taunting -- were the most in a game this season.
It started with Shazier being taken off the field and to a local hospital with a back injury after he made a tackle.
Later, Cincinnati safety George Iloka viciously hit Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown in the end zone after a touchdown reception, ultimately drawing a one-game suspension that was overturned Wednesday afternoon, and Pittsburgh wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster laid a brutal hit on Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict and then taunted him. Smith-Schuster also received a one-game suspension, and will sit out Pittsburgh's game against Baltimore (7-5) on Sunday night.
Also on the NFL's recent suspension list is Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, who got one game as a result of a dead-ball hit on Buffalo cornerback Tre'Davious White after an interception.
Belichick was his usual stoic self when asked what changes for New England without Gronkowski.
"We'll just do what we always do," he said, "take the players that we have available, match them up against a great team that Miami has ... and try to come up with the best plan that we can to be competitive with them Monday night."
(c)2017 Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
Visit the Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) at www.sun-sentinel.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.