Damontae Kazee suspended for rest of season after vicious hit on Michael Pittman Jr.

The NFL has decided to suspended Pittsburgh Steelers safety Damontae Kazee after a violent hit he had on Indianapolis Colts receiver Michael Pittman Jr.
Dec 16, 2023; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. (11)
Dec 16, 2023; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. (11) / Robert Scheer-USA TODAY Sports

The Indianapolis Colts defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers 30-13 on Saturday, but Indy lost its star receiver Michael Pittman Jr. in the process. During the second quarter of the game, Gardner Minshew lofted a pass downfield and Pittman laid out for it, attempting to haul it in. While Pittman was in the air reaching for the ball, Steelers safety Damontae Kazee delivered a brutal hit to the neck/head of Pittman. The collision led to the stadium going quiet and both teams kneeling while Pittman briefly laid on the ground. Fortunately, the receiver walked off the field but was ruled out with a concussion.

The referees penalized Kazee for unnecessary roughness on a defenseless receiver and ejected him from the game. Immediately, people argued that the decision was unfair to Kazee since he led with his shoulder and didn’t have many other ways to try to make a play. However, the NFL doubled down on the call on Monday, deciding to suspend Damontae Kazee without pay for the remainder of the regular season and any possible playoff games.

Per the NFL’s release, the suspension isn’t strictly for the hit on Pittman, but for “repeated violations of playing rules intended to protect the health and safety of players.” This season, Kazee has been fined five separate times for unnecessary roughness.

This decision by the NFL to suspend Kazee has only further infuriated the people who were upset to see him penalized and ejected. Among Kazee’s defenders is former quarterback Tom Brady. Since retiring, Brady has been very vocal about how the current rules are making things harder for defenders and essentially rewarding offensive players for bad decisions and poor execution. He once again made that point after the announcement of Kazee’s suspension.

Tom Brady comes to the defense of Damontae Kazee after suspension

Commenting on Instagram, Brady started his statement by expressing that no one likes to see players get hurt. He went on to argue that quarterbacks shouldn’t be putting their teammates in harm's way with their passes and decision making. Brady emphasized that it’s “just flat out wrong” to always put the blame on defensive players when coaches and quarterbacks need to be better.

While there’s definitely truth to Brady’s comments, the league still decided to suspend Kazee. Damontae Kazee will have the opportunity to appeal the suspension, but with just three regular season games left, it’s unclear what will come of that. As for Michael Pittman Jr. who was on the receiving end of the hit, he’s currently in the NFL’s concussion protocol.