NEW ORLEANS, La.
— The New Orleans Saints announced Monday that they have suspended two players for a game in the second round of the playoffs and will be reviewing the incident involving center Jason Smith.
The suspensions were first reported by ESPN.com.
Smith will be suspended for three games.
“The incident involving Jason Smith and the referees is under investigation,” Saints coach Sean Payton said in a statement.
“We believe it is in the best interest of our players and the organization to suspend Jason for the remainder of the postseason.”
The incident took place Sunday during the Saints’ 4-3 win over the St. Louis Rams.
Smith is charged with an incident that occurred during a timeout, but his attorney said he did not take the knee.
The incident occurred at the end of the first quarter of the Saints-Bears game and resulted in a play review.
The Saints are 1-4 against the Rams.
The league office also released a statement saying Smith will not be suspended.
“It was a one-on-one altercation involving two opposing players, a timeout and an illegal contact penalty,” the league said in the statement.
The statement added that the league is “investigating” the incident.
Saints linebacker Pernell McPhee, who is on injured reserve, was also charged with illegal contact during the incident and could face a suspension.
Saints coach Payton said McPhers was ejected for what he called “a blatant hit on the head” that “was a total disregard for the rules of the game.”
Saints defensive end David Hawthorne, who was in the box and also was charged with the incident, was given a one game suspension.
He is the only player charged.
Smith’s lawyer, Mike Molloy, said he is not aware of any suspensions handed down against players involved in such incidents.
“This is just another example of how a league cannot afford to allow this kind of behavior,” Mollow said in an interview with ESPN.
“You cannot allow it to continue.”