Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders leg cramp against the Cincinnati Bengals last month may or may not have been fake. His anger over the NFL’s decision to fine him for it, however, is real.
Sanders said Saturday he plans to contest the $15,000 penalty he received from the league a day earlier.
“We’re going to appeal it, and that’s it,” Sanders said. “I don’t know what they were trying to do, but that’s not for me to think about. We’re just going to appeal it, and we’ll deal with it then. I don’t know who we have to appeal it to, but I’m talking with my agent and the NFLPA to find out just how we have to go about appealing it.”
The NFL also fined the organization $35,000 over Sanders’ sudden — and quickly healed — leg injury in the fourth quarter of a 24-17 victory against Cincinnati on Oct. 21.
Sanders fell to the ground unexpectedly as the Steelers were preparing to huddle. He was tended to by team doctors and spent one play on the sideline before returning. Television announcers were vocal in their criticism of Sanders’ tactics. He originally said he was hurt but backtracked last week following a visit from league officials, saying the team was handing it “internally.”
Though he is appealing the fine, Sanders stressed he’s eager to move on. He will start in place of injured Antonio Brown on Monday night when the Steelers (5-3) host Kansas City (1-7).
“What can I do [but] just get ready for the game Monday night?” said Sanders, who has 24 receptions for 302 yards and a touchdown this season. “I feel really good.”
Brown, however, will miss his first game of the season with an ankle injury. Safety Troy Polamalu (right calf), tackle Marcus Gilbert (ankle) and linebacker Stevenson Sylvester (hamstring) are also out against the Chiefs. Running back Rashard Mendenhall is questionable while battling a strained right Achilles.
Running back Isaac Redman, who rushed for a career-high 147 yards in last week’s 24-20 win over the New York Giants, said Saturday he will start. Rookie running back/return specialist Chris Rainey will play despite cracked ribs and running back Jonathan Dwyer — who missed the Giants game with a right quadriceps injury — is also expected to play.