Eric Reid ejected for hit on Ben Roethlisberger

PITTSBURGH — Carolina Panthers free safety Eric Reid was ejected in the third quarter of Thursday night’s game for a hit on the Pittsburgh SteelersBen Roethlisberger as the quarterback was sliding at the end of a 17-yard scramble.

Reid lowered his head with Roethlisberger already well into his slide and then delivered shoulder-to-helmet contact to the six-time Pro Bowl selection.

Reid was ejected for unnecessary roughness for “forcible contact to the head and neck area of a sliding quarterback.”

The play came with 1:03 left in the third quarter and the Steelers driving for a touchdown that would make it 45-14.

The Panthers in late September became the first team to take a chance on Reid, who filed a collusion grievance against the NFL when no team would sign him after he spent last season with the San Francisco 49ers. Reid said the league colluded to keep him off a roster after he spent the previous season kneeling during the national anthem to protest social injustice.

He has continued to kneel during the anthem at Carolina and has not dropped the grievance.

New Panthers owner David Tepper, who had not addressed the decision to sign Reid until prior to Thursday’s game, was asked whether he had to give approval first.

“What did I say when I first came here?” Tepper said. “I said the first thing I want to do is? … Win. What was the second thing I said I wanted to do? That was also win. What was the third thing I wanted to do? Enough said.”

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Chiefs DE Chris Jones ejected for throwing punch

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City Chiefs defensive lineman Chris Jones was ejected from Sunday’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars for throwing a punch at an opposing player during the third quarter.

It was one of two Chiefs ejections in the game. Linebacker Dee Ford was kicked out in in fourth quarter for taunting Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles out of bounds on the Kansas City sideline after a play. It was his second penalty of game, the first one for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Jones punched one of the Jaguars who was on the ground after a Jacksonville extra point try. He was initially just penalized 15 yards for unnecessary roughness but was tossed from the game upon a video review.

Jones is the seventh NFL player to be ejected from a game this season.

In the second quarter, Jones had intercepted Jaguars quarterback Bortles and ran it in for a touchdown.

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Falcons’ Damontae Kazee ejected for hit on Cam Newton

ATLANTA — Atlanta Falcons safety Damontae Kazee was ejected for unnecessary roughness at 12:14 of the second quarter after a helmet hit on Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton.

As Newton slid to the ground, Kazee dove low and made helmet contact with Newton, causing Newton to go to the sideline momentarily to be checked by the medical staff. Panthers wide receiver Torrey Smith then went after Kazee, but Smith was not ejected. Smith did receive an unnecessary roughness penalty to offset Kazee’s.

Kazee was in the starting lineup Sunday after the Falcons lost starting strong safety Keanu Neal to a season-ending ACL tear. Kazee actually started at free safety, with starting free safety Ricardo Allen moving over to strong safety.

Jordan Richards entered the game after Kazee got ejected.

Kazee was flagged for two helmet infractions during the preseason.

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Shamarko Thomas of Indianapolis Colts first to be ejected under NFL’s new helmet rule

SEATTLE — Indianapolis Colts safety Shamarko Thomas became the first player to draw an ejection under the NFL’s new rule governing helmet hits.

Thomas was ejected with 5 minutes, 43 seconds left in the Colts’ preseason opener against the Seattle Seahawks when he lowered his head and made helmet-to-helmet contact with wide receiver David Moore on a deep incompletion.

Earlier in the game, Seahawks cornerback Akeem King drew a 15-yard penalty for lowering his head to initiate contact. Thomas’ hit also drew a 15-yard penalty.

NFL owners in March passed a rule that expanded penalties for contact involving helmets, including the potential for players to be ejected for lowering their heads to initiate contact with their helmets against an opponent.

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