NFL Issues Major Punishment to Bills Player for Striking Titans Coach

Bobby Hart

Getty Bobby Hart looks on during a Buffalo Bills practice.

The NFL has handed down punishment to Buffalo Bills offensive lineman Bobby Hart for a dust-up after Monday Night Football.

The league announced on Tuesday that Hart was involved in an altercation with a Tennessee Titans player following the Bills’ 41-7 victory, one that ended with Hart inadvertently striking a Titans coach.

“Once you and your opponent were in the end zone near the tunnel, you confronted him and immediately swung at him with a closed fist, striking the head of a Tennessee coach,” NFL vice president of football operations Jon Runyan wrote in a letter to Hart, via ESPN’s Adam Schefter. “Your aggressive conduct could have caused serious injury and clearly does not reflect the high standards of sportsmanship expected of a professional.”

Hart to Miss Key Bills Game

The league announced that Hart would be suspended one game for the altercation, forcing him to miss a key divisional matchup against the 2-0 Miami Dolphins.

The loss of the veteran offensive lineman will deplete Buffalo’s depth for their first divisional game of the season. Hart played 25 percent of the team’s snaps in Monday’s win over the Titans, and also serves on the field goal unit.

The 28-year-old Hart had signed with the Bills in March 2021, but was released during final roster cuts in August. He rejoined Buffalo’s practice squad in September, but was signed by the Titans and played three games there before going back to the Bills. Hart signed with the Bills in April, and has served as a backup offensive lineman.

He found some trouble during his tenure with the Bills. Pro-Bowl offensive lineman Dion Dawkins told the Buffalo News on September 17 that he didn’t get along with Hart last season and questioned his work ethic.

“Me, I’m a very honest guy. I didn’t like Bobby too much last year,” Dawkins said. “Like, at all. And he knows that. Like, I told him, I said, ‘Bobby, I didn’t like you bro.’ You weren’t taking football serious enough for me. He understood that, and I told him that.”

But Dawkins added that he had seen a significant change in Hart this season.

“I’m very proud of Bobby – very proud. This year, I told him ‘You have completely changed. You’ve changed your mindset. You’ve changed the way that you handle and approach the day,’ ” Dawkins said. “How he approaches practice – I don’t hear him complaining anymore. … He is an entirely different person and I am very proud of him. If he is listening – I try to keep him on track every day – but Bobby, I’m proud of you, and I hope that you’re here for a nice chunk.”

Bills Could Miss Key Players

The Bills could already be missing a number of key players for Sunday’s game against the Dolphins. Cornerback Dane Jackson was hospitalized during Monday’s game after suffering a neck injury, though he was released on Tuesday. The severity of his injury is not yet clear.

All-Pro safety Micah Hyde was also taken to the hospital for observation after the game. Linebacker Matt Milano was also taken out of Monday’s game after suffering a stinger, and defensive lineman Jordan Phillips injured his hamstring as Milano was returning an interception for a touchdown.

As ESPN’s Alaina Getzenberg noted, Hart has the right to appeal his suspension. It was unclear if he planned an appeal.

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