Vontaze Burfict is in trouble again, and it’s not because of his dance moves.
The Cincinnati Bengals linebacker is facing a five-game suspension from the NFL due to an illegal hit on Kansas City Chiefs fullback Anthony Sherman during the teams’ preseason game on Aug. 19, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Burfict, who is a repeat offender, is being punished for hitting a running back who was “in a defenseless posture,” Schefter reported Sunday, citing league sources. Schefter also notes that this is a new NFL rule that was put in place to protect players who are unable to protect themselves.
Burfict will appeal the suspension, according to Schefter.
The 26-year-old linebacker is entering the final year of his current contract and would lose $882,353 in base salary if the suspension is upheld.
Burfict was suspended for the first three games of the 2016 campaign due to multiple player safety violations.
The NFL will hear Burfict’s case next week, according to Schefter.
UPDATE (7:25 a.m. ET): The Bengals released a statement via Schefter late Sunday night defending their linebacker.
“The Bengals are aware of the NFL’s letter to Vontaze regarding a play in last weekend’s game,” the statement read. “The film shows that the hit was legal, that Vontaze engaged his opponent from the front, and that contact was shoulder-to-chest. The Club will support Vontaze in the appeal process.”
Thumbnail photo via Aaron Doster/USA TODAY Sports Images