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NFL suspends Bears' Javon Wims for fight with Saints' C.J. Gardner-Johnson

Chicago Bears wide receiver Javon Wims was suspended two games for throwing punches during the team's loss to the New Orleans Saints on Sunday in Chicago. File Photo by David Tulis/UPI
Chicago Bears wide receiver Javon Wims was suspended two games for throwing punches during the team's loss to the New Orleans Saints on Sunday in Chicago. File Photo by David Tulis/UPI | License Photo

Nov. 2 (UPI) -- The NFL suspended Chicago Bears wide receiver Javon Wims for two games following his on-field scuffle with New Orleans Saints defensive back C.J. Gardner-Johnson, the league announced Monday.

The incident occurred during the third quarter of the Saints' 26-23 overtime win over the Bears on Sunday. Chicago quarterback Nick Foles completed a 5-yard pass to receiver Allen Robinson before cameras caught Wims running up to confront Gardner-Johnson from behind.

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Wims appeared to reach for Gardner-Johnson's mouthpiece before punching him in the helmet with his right hand. Wims then struck Gardner-Johnson again in the helmet before both players wrestled each other to the ground.

Wims was ejected for his role in the scuffle, but Gardner-Johnson was allowed to remain in the game.

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Before the league handed down Wims' two-game ban, Gardner-Johnson denied instigating the fight in Sunday's game. His denial came after NFL Media reported that Wims told Bears officials he was spit on by Gardner-Johnson prior to the punch.

Although cameras captured Gardner-Johnson ripping out Wims' mouthpiece and sticking a finger in the face of fellow Bears wideout Anthony Miller on previous plays, Gardner-Johnson insisted Monday that he was "innocent."

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"It ain't got nothing to do with me. If he's acting out, that's on him," Gardner-Johnson said. "It wasn't no accident. We won the game. I mean, everybody, it's a lot of he said, he said. Ain't nothing happened. Nobody got spit on.

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"Shouldn't be nowhere near the field of play when the game's going on. So I ain't answering no more questions about that."

Gardner-Johnson also took a verbal jab at Wims on social media after the game. On Instagram, he wrote: "That man punch like a female."

League sources told ESPN and NFL Media that Wims has appealed the suspension. His hearing is set for Tuesday.

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Following Sunday's game, Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy said he was "bothered" when Wims threw punches at Gardner-Johnson.

"I am really, really bothered by that third-quarter incident," Nagy told reporters Sunday. "It bothers me. I am proud of the guys that played hard and were selfless and tried to do everything they could to help us win."

Nagy also said he was looking down and didn't see the sequence, but called Wims' actions "unacceptable."

"We have talked to him and told him that's not how things go here," Nagy said. "One of Javon's strengths is his character and who he is as a person.

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"He has since apologized, but there is no part in this game for that. That's not how we roll here."

Saints head coach Sean Payton praised his players for being disciplined during the scuffle.

"We just had to be smart and not allow that to dictate or have a part in the conclusion of the game and who wins or loses," Payton said. "And that just takes discipline, we've got to continue to work on that. And fortunately, it didn't impact any of our players."

Wims had one catch for nine yards in the Bears' loss. The third-year wide receiver has five catches for 35 yards and a touchdown on the season. Gardner-Johnson had seven tackles and two tackles for a loss for the Saints.

The Saints (5-2) battle the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 8:20 p.m. EDT on Sunday in Tampa, Fla. The Bears (5-3) face the Tennessee Titans at 1 p.m. EDT on Sunday in Nashville.

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