ENGLEWOOD, Colo. --The Broncos will have to do without David Bruton Jr. for the rest of the season. The Steelers will have Cody Wallace available on Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens.
The two items are not connected, because Bruton's season-ending fractured fibula did not occur when Wallace launched himself helmet-first into Bruton's helmet late in the first quarter.
But the fact that Wallace escaped with only a fine was a point of anger in the Broncos' locker room Wednesday.
"Yeah, he should have been suspended. Definitely," said cornerback Aqib Talib.
"Oh, come on, man. That was out of pocket. He was completely out of line for that," added safety T.J. Ward. "It was malicious and he was trying to hurt one of our players. How do you feel about that?"
Bruton was more pragmatic than some of his teammates, but nonetheless disappointed with the lack of a sterner punishment.
"Well, I'm glad he got something. I was worried he was going to get away scot-free. But it happens in the game -- granted, it was still cheap and it's unacceptable," Bruton said. "They're trying to keep the play of the game very clean, so you can't just be launching -- especially when the guy's been down for two seconds already."
Bruton believes that Wallace's hit should have drawn a suspension.
"I think so. There's a lot of linemen here in the league who clear out piles like that -- even when their guy is not running," Bruton said. "The fact that he dove [and] left his feet and had his head down to take me out with my head down, it's just -- it's up to the NFL office, but personally I don't think a fine is enough."
Especially considering some of the actions that have resulted in suspensions, such as Talib's poke in the eye in Week 9.
"If I put a guy's life in danger by doing this [eye-poke gesture] and it costs me $350,000, man, that definitely puts somebody's life in danger," Talib said.
"I don't know how that goes, though. I don't know what determines who gets suspended for a game and who doesn't. But I saw it live; it was definitely a dirty play. It was unsportsmanlike. It got 15 yards, and [Wallace] got a little slap on the wrist. I guess that's how the league goes."
And with Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. facing a one-game suspension for a similar incident, the Broncos players were further rankled.
"If that was us that hit him, we would have been suspended. That's just how it is. If that was one of the Broncos guys that did a late hit like that, we would have been suspended, we would have been fined. That's how it would have been," cornerback Chris Harris Jr. said. "If Odell Beckham [Jr.] got suspended -- I don't even think Odell's hit is worse than what Cody did to Brut, if y'all watch it on the film."
Added Ward: "This year has been crazy. There's been a lot of things that I've seen that if I would have done, I probably would have been kicked out of the game, and if some of my teammates would have done [them], we would have gotten kicked out of the game and gotten fined.
"You see that other teams and other players are doing similar things -- or worse -- and there are really no repercussions to it. So that's really frustrating."