Cleat Geeks

Bengals Burfict suspended by NFL

The NFL announced Monday that Burfict has been suspended without pay for the first three games of the 2016 regular season for repeated violations of safety-related playing rules.Burfect1

The league deemed that Burfict should have avoided the hit that concussed Antonio Brown, ultimately giving the Steelers field position for the winning kick in their 18-16 wild card play-off victory over the Bengals on Saturday.

The suspension was imposed by Merton Hanks, NFL vice president of football operations, who ruled that Burfict’s action placed his opponent at unnecessary risk of injury and should have been avoided.

The NFL also stated that the conduct of other players and coaches involved in the Steelers-Bengals game is being reviewed for potential discipline.

Agent Audie Attar confirmed that Burfict will appeal the suspension, per NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport. He has up to three days to appeal.

A repeat offender, Burfict left the NFL with little recourse. He had previously been fined four times in 2015 alone for safety-related violations.

That includes close to $70,000 for three fines stemming from three different plays during the Bengals’ 33-20 loss to the Steelers in mid-December.

His Week 8 tackle on Le’Veon Bell ended the star running back’s season. If you’re counting at home, Burfict was responsible for knocking Pittsburgh’s three best players out of games this season.

Burfect2The behavior is nothing new for Burfict. He led the league in unnecessary roughness penalties this season and was flagged for 22 “flagrant” penalties in 37 games at Arizona State, which contributed to his slide through the 2012 NFL Draft.

Burfict plays like a throwback to the 1950s. The difference is high-definition instant replays and social media weren’t around to capture and disseminate dirty tactics when roughnecks like Hardy Brown, Ed Sprinkle and the Black-Hat Brigade were shattering jaws and prematurely ending careers. Those hits won’t fly in an era of heightened concern for player safety.

The Bengals have long needed a ferocious tone-setter willing to match the Steelers’ physicality. Although Burfict does provide that presence, the modern NFL can’t abide a repeat offender intent on injuring other players.

I understand that the NFL is trying to do things that keep player safety in mind, but the vicious hits are one of the reasons that we watch. And I would say that these rules are going to far, and are not being enforced uniformally across the league. It seems to me as though the penalties are being handed out on reputation, and not play on the field. The referees can’t even be consistent in the same game, nevermind from week to week. The hit in the video above was without a doubt “leading with the helmet” Shazier lowers his helmet and launches himself at Bernard.PorteronField

If you look at the video above, the line of scrimmage is the Steelers’ 23. Now, not only did Pittsburgh not get a penalty on them, the refs actually were then forced to rule the result of the play a fumble. So instead of 1st and 10 on the Steelers’ 8 yard line after the 15 yard penalty the ball is then given to the Steelers. They certainly are not being handed out according to who is on the field, isn’t that right Mr. Porter.

Parts of this article were written by Chris Wesseling.

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