Chicago Bears LB Cassius Marsh says he was 'hip-checked' by ref before being hit with taunting penalty

PITTSBURGH -- Bears linebacker Cassius Marsh claimed that Tony Corrente "hip-checked" him just moments before Corrente flagged Marsh as inappropriate for his taunting in Monday's fourth quarter of Chicago’s 29-27 loss against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
"I was hip-checked by the referee on my way to the sideline. Marsh stated after the game, "It's pretty clear." Marsh said, "If I did that to a referee or touched a referee, we are kicked out of this game and could be suspended and fined." That was just incredibly inexcusable.

Marsh had just sacked Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger at 7 yards on third-and-8. Marsh then did a spinning jump kick as a celebration -- Marsh's traditional celebratory move.

Marsh took several steps towards the Steelers' bench, before making contact with Corrente as he made his way back to Chicago's sideline. Corrente reached out for his flag to penalize the Bears by 15 yards in an attempt to extend Pittsburgh's drive. After being given new life, the Steelers finally kicked a field goal.

Marsh said, "I believe that one was just bad timing. Marsh stated that it was obvious to everyone who saw it that Marsh wasn't teasing. Marsh said, "I have been celebrating my entire career." It's so sad to see things like this happen in such a close game.

Corrente, for his part, said that Marsh's contact did not play a role in the punishment.

Corrente stated in a pool report that "first of all, remember that taunting was a point of emphasis in this year." "And that being said, I observed the player run towards the Steelers bench after making a big play and pose in such a manner that I felt that he was taunting them.

"I didn’t view [the contact] the same as any other person I had dealt with. It had nothing to do. It was the taunting aspect."

The Bears were penalized 12 time for the loss of 115 yards.