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Mike Mitchell defends George Iloka, JuJu Smith-Schuster, blasts NFL discipline

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JuJu, Iloka appealing 1-game suspensions (0:35)

Adam Schefter says both JuJu Smith-Schuster and George Iloka are appealing their 1-game suspensions and are expecting an answer from the league soon. (0:35)

PITTSBURGH -- The aftermath of the bruising Pittsburgh Steelers-Cincinnati Bengals matchup left healthy debate over the violence of NFL football and questionable plays.

The ruling of a one-game suspension for Steelers receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster and Bengals safety George Iloka sparked a thoughtful twitter barrage from Steelers safety Mike Mitchell, who is tired of the inconsistencies with the NFL rulings.

Mitchell, who did not play in Monday's game but has plenty of experience with AFC North football, cited Rob Gronkowski's hit that earned a one-game suspension as far more egregious than the Steelers-Bengals culprits making a "football play."

Smith-Schuster, the rookie who's earned positive marks in his own locker room for his physical blocking, put a fourth-quarter hit on linebacker Vontaze Burfict that left the player "at risk of serious injury and could have been avoided," NFL vice president of football operations Jon Runyan said in a statement.

Smith-Schuster blocked for Le'Veon Bell in the open field and then stood over Burfict after the hit, which Runyan said fell below standards expected of an NFL player. Later in the fourth, Iloka's helmet shot on Antonio Brown in the end zone was the kind of flagrant play the NFL is trying to eliminate, Runyan noted.

Mitchell disagreed with those assessments in a follow-up tweet:

Smith-Schuster has another fan of his blocking: Brown, who called Burfict's shot to the turf "karma."

The NFL won't have this problem most weeks. Bengals-Steelers in prime time promotes a special blend of helmet-flinging. But players will continue to close watching the league's potential discrepancies in player-safety discipline.