Burfict could miss the first five games.
Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict is facing a five game suspension for an illegal hit on Kansas City Chiefs fullback Anthony Sherman earlier this month, according to ESPN.
Burfict, who has a history of illegal hits, violated one of the NFL's new rules which states a defender can not hit the running back in a defenseless posture. He is appealing the five game ban and will reportedly have a hearing next week with the NFL.
Burfict issues the following response per Bengals.com,
"I'm crossing my fingers and hoping for the best," Burfict told Bengals.com. "I feel like I've let down my teammates, but I also feel like I've done a good job with this. I only had one personal foul last year. We feel like this was a legal hit. I hit him in the shoulder. I hit hard, so it may have looked like I hit him in the head, but it was the shoulder. I helped him up and he said he was good and I asked if he was good on the next series and he said, 'Yeah, that was a legal hit.'"
The Bengals also commented on the suspension, saying that footage from the game shows the hit on Sherman was legal and that the team will support him in the appeal process.
"The Bengals are aware of the NFL's letter to Vontaze regarding a play in last weekend's game. 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."
Burfict was suspended for the first three games last season due to numerous violations of player safety rules, including an illegal hit on Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown during the 2015 playoffs.
If the suspension stands, Burfict will lose $882,353 in game checks, and miss the Bengals' first five games against the Baltimore Ravens, Houston Texans, Green Bay Packers, Cleveland Browns and Buffalo Bills. The Bengals will also be without cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones for the season opener against Baltimore.
Check out footage of Burfict's hit on Anthony Sherman below.