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Don't Expect Whitworth Suspension; Dunlap Maybe; Boling Narrowly Avoids Major Injury

Though the fight that broke out on Sunday was with Andrew Whitworth, other Bengals joined the fray, including Carlos Dunlap who the league could suspend upon review.

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© Rob Leifheit

It doesn't seem likely that Bengals offensive lineman Andrew Whitworth will face a suspension after he was ejected on Sunday, because at their core the league will understand that Whitworth's actions were in defense of his quarterback. You might take hitting out of the defense, but you won't stop an offensive lineman from protecting his quarterback. Though Marvin Lewis "denounced" Whitworth's actions on Monday, he doesn't expect the league to add discipline beyond that of a monetary fine.

Yet there are rumblings that defensive tackle Tommy Kelly, one of the three ejections, could face a suspension because he was on the sidelines when the fight broke out, jumping into the fray from the bench. If that's at all the prerequisite for a suspension, then there are several Cincinnati Bengals players that could face a similar situation.

Taylor Mays and Carlos Dunlap (obviously not offensive players) came onto the field, as did backup tight end Orson Charles who was not part of the offensive package when Andre Smith's false start blew the play dead (and everything that happened afterward).

Per Pro Football Talk:

"It’s not automatic," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told PFT via email on Sunday night regarding the question of whether, for example, Raiders defensive lineman Tommy Kelly will receive a suspension for joining the fray. "Specific facts and circumstances are evaluated case by case."

And that's why we don't think anyone will face a suspension.

Charles quickly jumped in to peel Jermaine Gresham away; a brotherhood between two players at the same position. Mays quickly retreated back to the sidelines.

Dunlap, on the other hand, is a bit iffy. Looking at the picture above you see defensive line coach Jay Hayes readying a horse collar yank to get Dunlap away from the pile. But as the picture swung back out, Dunlap is still on the field with at least two Bengals coaches (including Hue Jackson) are trying to break everything up.

That's when Dunlap paced towards the scrum and started yanking Tommy Kelly away from the pile, which succeeded and even drew a flag at which point could have resulted in Kelly's ejection, who continued jawing towards Dunlap as Gresham buried Carlos away back to the sidelines.

Charles and Mays should be safe, but Dunlap we're not entirely sure about. It's entirely possible that while Dunlap joined the fight from the sidelines, he was doing his due-diligence pulling Kelly away to end the whole thing. We'll see how the league figures that one out.

Yet all of this pales to what could have been a much bigger issue. As the strum falls to the turf, the pile narrowly avoids Clint Boling's right knee and he was able to quickly release his foot from underneath Whitworth.