The Bengals linebacker will be suspended for the first three games of next season as the NFL began handing down punishments for an ugly wildcard game
Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict will be suspended for the first three games of next season as the NFL began handing down punishments for an ugly wildcard playoff game.
The league is also reviewing the conduct of other players and coaches during Pittsburghs 18 -1 6 victory at Paul Brown Stadium on Saturday night that turned on penalties against Burfict and Bengals cornerback Adam Jones in the final minute.
Burfict was penalized for lowering his shoulder and making defenseless receiver Antonio Brown in the head after an incompletion with 22 seconds left and the Bengals holding a 16 -1 5 leading. Brown was concussed after the play.
Burfict had already been fined four times for dangerous plays during the season. He got a $50,000 fine for an illegal hit on a Ravens player a week earlier. Burfict was also fined $69,454 for three penalties against the Steelers on 13 December: roughing the passer, grabbing the facemask and unnecessary roughness.
Merton Hanks, the leagues vice president of football operations, said the hit on Brown during the playoff game placed his foe at unnecessary hazard of trauma and should have been avoided.
While players and coaches from both teams were on the field as Brown was analyse, Jones went after Steelers coach Joey Porter and got a penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct. The two penalties moved the ball from the Cincinnati 47 -yard line to the 17, and Chris Boswell made a 35 -yard kick for the win.
More punishments are expected from the game, which was marred by numerous altercations between players. Steelers offensive line coach-and-four Mike Munchak got a 15 -yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct after he grabbed security Reggie Nelsons hair on the sideline following a play.
Before the suspension was announced on Monday night, Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said that Burfict didnt go over the edge with his hit against Brown. Although the linebacker has been penalise and fined repeatedly, Lewis said hes been depicted unfairly for his play.
It didnt go over the edge, Lewis said. But regrettably, he cant have that kind of jolt with the guy thats receiving the pass. But it didnt go over the edge for the course of the season. Lets not take things out of context, and understand it. Lets judge the body of work.
The NFL chose his penalties over the course of a season merited the suspension, which can be appealed.
Steelers linebacker James Harrison, who spent one season in Cincinnati with his locker next to Burficts, said in Pittsburgh that Burfict is always pushing the line of whats acceptable. Theres hours where reference is out of control, and theres times hes out of control, but hes calculated with it, Harrison said. Its a fine line.
Read more: www.theguardian.com