The NFL on Thursday upheld the three-game suspension of Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict, according to NFL.com.
Burfict and Bengals coach Marvin Lewis met with NFL officials, including commissioner Roger Goodell, after the appeal was denied, ESPN’s Dan Graziano reported.
The NFL suspended Burfict for “repeated violations of safety-related playing rules” after he was flagged for a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty for a hit to head on Pittsburgh wide receiver Antonio Brown in an 18-16 loss in the AFC Wild-Card game on Jan. 9.
Brown, who suffered a concussion on the play, missed the Steelers AFC Divisional playoff game the following week against Denver.
The three-game suspension is the longest the NFL issued for on-field transgressions since 2006, when Tennessee’s Albert Haynesworth received five games for stomping on the head of Dallas center Andre Gurode.
It was a tumultuous last few weeks of the season for Burfict. He was fined $50,000 for a hit on Maxx Williams during the regular-season finale against Baltimore. Burfict was fined $69,454 for three infractions in the Week 14 game against Pittsburgh. One was for roughing the passer when he dove low at the legs of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, another was for a facemask penalty and the last was for unnecessary roughness.
The three-game suspension will cost Burfict $502,941 in salary. In addition the the fines against Baltimore and Pittsburgh last season, Burfict has been fined four other times for an additional $77,000.
He drew a $25,000 for twisting the ankles of Carolina quarterback Cam Newton and tight end Greg Olsen in 2014; $21,000 for spearing Jets wide receiver Stephen Hill in 2013; $21,000 for a hit on a defenseless player (Packers wide receiver James Jones) in 2013; and $10,000 for hitting Green Bay tight end Ryan Taylor in the groin in 2013.
Burfict’s penalty against Brown moved the Steelers into field goal range and was followed by an unnecessary roughness penalty against cornerback Adam Jones. The two flags moved the Steelers from the Cincinnati 47 to the 17, where kicker Chris Boswell made a 35-yard field goal with 14 seconds remaining to lift the Steelers to the two-point win and send the Bengals to their fifth straight first-round playoff loss.
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