Chicago Bears LB Cassius Marsh says he was 'hip-checked' by ref before being hit with taunting penalty: 'Incredibly inappropriate'

PITTSBURGH -- Bears linebacker Cassius Marsh accused official Tony Corrente of "hip-checking" him moments before Corrente flagged Marsh for taunting in the fourth quarter of Chicago's 29-27 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday night.

"On my way to the sideline, I got hip-checked by the ref. It's pretty clear," Marsh said after the game. "If I was to do that to a ref or even touch a ref, we get kicked out of the game and possibly suspended and fined. I just think that that was incredibly inappropriate."

The contact occurred after Marsh sacked Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for a 7-yard loss on third-and-8 and Marsh did a spinning jump kick to celebrate -- the linebacker's customary celebratory move.

Marsh then took several steps toward the Steelers' bench before making contact with Corrente on his way back to Chicago's sideline. Corrente reached for his flag and penalized the Bears 15 yards to extend Pittsburgh's drive. The Steelers eventually kicked a field goal after they were given new life because of the penalty.

"I think that one was just bad timing. It's pretty clear to everybody who saw it that I wasn't taunting," Marsh said. "I've been doing the celebration my whole career. It's just sad to see stuff like that happen in a close game like that."

For his part, Corrente said the contact with Marsh played no role in the penalty.

"First of all, keep in mind that taunting is a point of emphasis this year," Corrente said in a pool report. "And with that said, I saw the player, after he made a big play, run toward the bench area of the Pittsburgh Steelers and posture in such a way that I felt he was taunting them.

"I didn't judge [the contact] as anything that I dealt with. That had nothing to do with it. It was the taunting aspect."

The Bears were penalized 12 times for 115 yards in the loss.