Pitt TE suspended indefinitely for obscene gesture

Updated: November 4, 2006, 9:56 PM ET
Associated Press

TAMPA, Fla. -- Pittsburgh coach Dave Wannstedt suspended tight end Darrell Strong indefinitely Saturday after a touchdown celebration in which he appeared to make an obscene gesture to the crowd during a 22-12 loss to South Florida.

Strong was penalized for celebrating excessively when he approached the stands beyond the end zone after catching a 19-yard scoring pass from Tyler Palko with 6:22 remaining in the fourth quarter.

"Our football program and university have very high standards and we will not tolerate the behavior Darrell Strong displayed today," Wannstedt said in a statement released by the school. "Darrell told me he regrets his actions but he must also be accountable. As a result, I am suspending him indefinitely."

Strong apologized to South Florida and his teammates in a separate statement released by the school.

"I know my behavior hurt my team and embarrassed my university," he said. "That's not what being a Pitt football player is about and I want everyone to know I am truly sorry."

The 15-yard penalty was costly because Pitt, needing a 2-point conversion to cut its deficit to eight, had to start the extra-point play from the 18-yard line instead of the South Florida 3.

On the conversion try, Palko threw an incompletion.

"I'm disappointed in how we played today, but I won't be embarrassed," Wannstedt said. "I won't have our university be embarrassed."


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press

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