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Steelers’ Cameron Heyward on Justin Herbert punch: ‘It looks worse than it is in slow motion’


The NFL is standing by officials’ decision on Sunday not to eject Pittsburgh Steelers defensive lineman Cameron Heyward after he appeared to punch Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert

Heyward was called for unnecessary roughness but was not ejected in the fourth quarter after appearing to punch Herbert in the abdomen following a 36-yard dash. Viewers slammed the play as dirty, but the defender blamed the “slow motion” footage. 

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“To be honest, I was running after the ball, and I caught my hand under, so when I was trying to get back up, I couldn’t get up, and I fell back on him,” he said after the game. 

“I know it looks terrible, (but) there was nothing malicious behind it. I don’t think I was trying to punch him, but I know it looks worse than it is in slow motion. I’m sorry if I did anything to offend anybody. I wish I had said more to Justin after, but there was nothing behind it.”

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Senior Vice President of Officiating Walt Anderson said in a pool report that the league did not believe the penalty required further discipline. 

Justin Herbert #10 of the Los Angeles Chargers is tackled by Cameron Heyward #97 of the Pittsburgh Steelers during the fourth quarter at SoFi Stadium on November 21, 2021 in Inglewood, California. 

Justin Herbert #10 of the Los Angeles Chargers is tackled by Cameron Heyward #97 of the Pittsburgh Steelers during the fourth quarter at SoFi Stadium on November 21, 2021 in Inglewood, California. 
(Getty Images)

“We looked at it here in New York and just did not feel that the action rose to the level of a disqualification and further action by us.”

According to the NFL Network, Heyward will be assessed for a fine but is not facing suspension. 

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Cameron Heyward #97 of the Pittsburgh Steelers tackles Justin Herbert #10 of the Los Angeles Chargers during the fourth quarter at SoFi Stadium on November 21, 2021 in Inglewood, California. 

Cameron Heyward #97 of the Pittsburgh Steelers tackles Justin Herbert #10 of the Los Angeles Chargers during the fourth quarter at SoFi Stadium on November 21, 2021 in Inglewood, California. 
(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

The Chargers rallied to hold off the Pittsburgh Steelers 41-37 despite blowing a 17-point lead at the beginning of the fourth quarter.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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