The NFL is once again preparing to suspended Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter is reporting that Burfict is facing a four-game suspension from the NFL for violating the league’s anti-drug policy. Burfict is expected to be appeal the suspension, and has two arguments to present for when his appeal is heard, per Schefter.
The first argument of Burfict’s is that he was prescribed different medications to take for two separate injuries. The first prescription was to treat a concussion that was suffered in a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on December 4 after he hit down to the ground by Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster. The second prescription would be used to treat shoulder sprain that was sustained on Christmas Eve against the Detroit Lions. Burfict was subsequently tested by the NFL for performance enhancing drugs three days later.
Burfict’s test on that specific date will be apart of argument number two. He is expected to argue that at the time he was tested, he was already ruled out for the remainder of the 2017 season, meaning he didn’t take the banned substance with the intentions of gaining a competitive advantage like the rules say. There has yet to be an appeal date scheduled, Schefter is also reporting.
While Burfict has been suspended by the NFL many times throughout his career, he has never once been suspended for performance enhancing drugs. If Burfict doesn’t get his suspension reduced in anyway or overturned, he will be scheduled to lose over $1.4 million, according to ESPN’s Katherine Terrell. It will also mark the fourth straight season the Bengals will have to open the season without Burfict, who hasn’t played a full season since 2013.
Spotrac estimates that Burfict has lost a total of $3.8 million via NFL suspensions and fines, though it’s likely Burfict has at least recouped some of that money through his appeals. Prior to his current suspension, Burfict was last suspended three games by the NFL in August 2017 for an illegal hit on Kansas City Chiefs fullback Anthony Sherman during the pre-season. Burfict was also deducted $1.4 million then as well.
The 27-year-old Burfict will earn a base salary of $3.8 million in 2018 as apart of a three-year, $32.5 million contract extension signed in September 2017. He is due a $3.4 million roster bonus by the Bengals on March 31, and when you combine his signing and workout bonus together, his 2018 cap hit becomes $8.6 million.
Burfict had 69 total tackles, 2 pass deflections, and 1.5 sacks in 10 games for the Bengals in 2017.
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