Wesley suspension more than justified

October, 19, 2009
10/19/09
6:26
PM ET
Posted by ESPN.com’s Pat Yasinskas

The NFL just announced Carolina defensive back Dante Wesley will be suspended for one game for his hit on Tampa Bay punt returner Clifton Smith on Sunday.

Wesley will sit out Sunday’s home game against Buffalo.

My take on this is that Wesley’s getting off somewhat easily. The hit was nothing short of vicious. If you haven’t seen it yet or want to see it again, click here.

Wesley decked Smith as the return man was setting up to field a punt that hadn’t arrived yet and he caught him under the helmet with two forearms at full speed. Smith was leveled and stayed down for several minutes. He has a concussion, but has been moving around a little Monday.

My best guess is the league factored Wesley’s track record into this decision. If Wesley had a history of reckless play or infractions, the suspension probably would have been lighter. But there’s nothing like that in Wesley’s history.

There’s no question what he did was horribly wrong, but this play was out of character for Wesley.

Pat Yasinskas | email

ESPN Tampa Bay Buccaneers reporter

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