Connect with us

Steelers News

Steelers Safety Damontae Kazee Gets Suspension Slightly Reduced on Appeal



Steelers S Damontae Kazee
Pittsburgh Steelers safety Damontae Kazee celebrates a tackle against the Indianapolis Colts on Dec. 16, 2023. -- Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

The three-game suspension for Pittsburgh Steelers safety Damontae Kazee for his hit to Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. was upheld after appeal, the NFL announced on Wednesday, but he will be able to play in the postseason, should the Steelers make it that far.

Kazee’s appeal hearing was held on Wednesday in front of former Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins wide receiver James Thrash, who is one of two jointly appointed NFL-NFLPA appeals officers.

Thrash upheld the three-game suspension for Kazee, but eliminated the provision that would have ruled Kazee out for the postseason. The Steelers are currently seen as playoff long shots. The New York Times currently gives them a 3% chance of making it to the postseason.

The three-game suspension means that Kazee will lose $208,333 in salary from his three-game ban. He was also fined over $50,000 in five separate cases earlier this season, though some of those were reduced on appeal.

Pittsburgh Steelers safety Damontae Kazee at training camp on Aug. 17, 2023. — Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

The suspension is the second of Kazee’s career. He was ejected and fined, but not suspended for a 2018 hit on Cam Newton when he was with the Atlanta Falcons. A 2021 DWI arrest caused him to be suspended for the first three games of the 2022 season. His fine and suspension history was a factor in the severity of the punishment for the hit.

“When players violate the rules intended to protect player safety on a repeated basis, and particularly when the violations carry with them a significant risk of injury to an opposing player, it is appropriate to impose substantially greater penalties,” NFL vice president of football operations John Runyan said in a press release.

Kazee hit Pittman in the second quarter of what became a 30-13 Steelers loss to the Colts on Saturday. Kazee hit wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. in the head with his shoulder as Pittman was diving over the middle of the field in an attempt to catch a pass from Gardner Minshew. 

Pittman was able to walk off the field under his own power, but he was removed from the game and remains in the NFL concussion protocol.  Pittman practiced in a limited capacity on Wednesday.

In addition to Kazee, the Steelers also lost starting free safety Minkah Fitzpatrick in the Colts game, to injury. They were replaced by Trenton Thompson at strong safety and cornerback Patrick Peterson moved to free safety.

The Steelers will now have to make do without Kazee for the next three weeks. The 30-year-old signed a two-year, $6 million contract to stay with the Steelers last offseason, so he will play for the team again in 2024.