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Bengals' George Iloka has 1-game ban for hit on Antonio Brown overturned

Chris Adamski
| Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017, 12:54 p.m.
Steelers receiver Antonio Brown catches a touchdown pass, as the Bengals' Dre Kirkpatrick and George Iloka defend during the fourth quarter Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Steelers receiver Antonio Brown catches a touchdown pass, as the Bengals' Dre Kirkpatrick and George Iloka defend during the fourth quarter Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.

Less than 24 hours after levying it, the NFL on Wednesday rescinded the one-game suspension of Bengals safety George Iloka for his hit on the Steelers' Antonio Brown during Monday night's game.

Word from the league came via a post to the verified Twitter account of NFL vice president of communications Michael Signora: "Appeals officer Derrick Brooks, jointly appointed by NFL & NFLPA, reduced discipline of George Iloka from 1-game suspension to $36,464.50 fine."

No further explanation was immediately given.

In announcing the suspension Tuesday, the NFL said Iloka was violation of the league rule "which prohibits forcibly hitting a defenseless player's head or neck area with the helmet, facemask, forearm or shoulder."

Runyan wrote to Iloka: "The Competition Committee has clearly expressed its goal of 'eliminating flagrant hits that have no place in our game' and has encouraged the League office to suspend offenders for egregious violations such as the one you committed last night."

Brown scored the tying touchdown on the play with 3:51 left. After the game, Brown said Iloka "hit me in the head as hard as he could… The guy left his feet and hit me in the head."

Monday wasn't Iloka's first run-in with the Steelers. In 2015, he was fined $23,152 for a helmet-to-helmet hit on former Steelers tight end Heath Miller. And then last season, an open-field hit on former Steelers tight end Ladarius Green literally ended Green's career. Green did not play the rest of the season or playoffs and was released after a failed physical in the spring.

Iloka's suspension was announced in conjunction with one given to Steelers receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster for a block – and subsequent standing over in a taunting position – of Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict.

That suspension was upheld under Smith-Schuster's appeal.

Smith-Schuster expressed his frustration in a short series of tweets.

Chris Adamski is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at cadamski@tribweb.com or via Twitter @C_AdamskiTrib.

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