George Iloka has suspension reduced to fine

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Bengals won’t have to worry about game-planning for the Chicago Bears without safety George Iloka.

Appeals officer Derrick Brooks announced that the defensive back, who was originally slapped with a one-game suspension due to his hit on Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown during Monday Night Football, has instead been disciplined with a $35,464.50 fine.

“On a play which began with 3:55 left in the game, you violently struck a defenseless receiver in the head and neck area,” NFL VP of Operations Jon Runyan originally 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.”

Monday’s AFC North battle was a chippy one, and one that saw a handful of players leave the game with injuries. Just prior to that head-shot from Iloka, Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster laid a vicious blindside block on Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict.

The rookie wide receiver also appealed, though his one-game suspension was upheld by the league.

Iloka accounted for five combined tackles in Monday’s loss to the Steelers. The Bengals stormed out to a 17-0 lead in the first half but let it slip away in the second, watching Chris Boswell’s game-winning field goal as time expired put another tally in the loss column.

The Bengals, still looking to slip into the playoff hunt, are back in action on Sunday to host the Bears.

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