Sanders and the team were fined a total of $50,000 for the Oct. 21 incident, in which Sanders limped off the field in Cincinnati but returned one play later to go streaking down the field to cover a punt.
In a letter to the team, NFL Vice President Ray Anderson noted Sanders outran his teammates and downed the ball. He added, however, there was no evidence the Steelers condoned Sanders' action or told him to take a dive, The Boston Globe said Saturday.
The team was nevertheless fined $35,000 for Sanders' transgression. Sanders, who has 24 catches this season, will have to pony up $15,000.
Pro Football Weekly said Sanders acknowledged two weeks ago he was being called on the carpet for the incident, which occurred in the fourth quarter of the Steelers' 21-17 victory over the Bengals.
Sanders had contended he was hit with a cramp when he went down. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette said Anderson pointed out Sanders had no prior history of cramping up and apparently received little in the way of assistance from trainers on the sidelines.