Cincinnati Bengals’ LB Vontaze Burfict was fined four times last year, and he’s already facing another one this season. The league has decided to fine him $75,000 after video showed that he intentionally stomped on Patriots’ RB LeGarrette Blount.
There was another incident in the game against the Patriots, as he took at shot at TE Martellus Bennett’s knees. He will not be fined for that. Reports showed that he apologized after the game and claimed it wasn’t an attempted dirty hit. He simply fell for the pump fake and thought the ball was going there when it wasn’t.
Though going after knees isn’t pretty, it could be tough for the NFL to fine him since they’ve spent so long trying to get guys to hit low. Burfict himself was suspended for three games to start the 2016 season after a helmet shot on Steelers’ WR Antonio Brown in the postseason last year. The NFL must have felt that he was legitimately trying to make a tackle without hitting high, which is what they want, not trying to blow out the TE’s knee.
There was some speculation that he would be suspended again, based in part on his extensive history of fines and suspensions in past seasons. However, sources reported yesterday that he would just get a fine, and they appear to have been right. For now, the Bengals won’t lose the LB. However, if this sort of thing continues, he could end up with stiffer penalties. As noted, it took four fines to get to a suspension in 2015.
It’s also worth noting that Burfict is going to appeal, and he claims he has another camera angle showing he never stepped on Blount.