The Cincinnati Bengals have known about Vontaze Burfict’s possible suspension and say it won’t hold them back.
On March 16th the information about linebacker Vontaze Burfict facing a four-game suspension for violating the performance-enhancing drug policy came out to the public. The Cincinnati Bengals organization, however, already knew of the suspension at the end of the 2017 season. Burfict tested positive when the season ended on December 31st.
While it was news to us as fans it was old news to the organization. The team has already known of the possible suspension and been working to start the season without the 27-year-old linebacker. Bringing in linebacker Preston Brown was likely one of those moves resulting from Burfict likely missing games at the beginning of the 2018 season.
Burfict will appeal the suspension but appealing suspensions dealt with performance-enhancing drugs has rarely been overturned. Players are responsible for anything going into their body and have the list of ingredients they are not allowed to use. Burfict is blaming the hit that caused a concussion on December 4th against the Pittsburgh Steelers and an injury sustained on December 24th and stating that he was prescribed medications for the injuries that resulted in the positive testing.
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Head coach Marvin Lewis and the Bengals organization are working this offseason under the assumption they will be without Burfict in the first four games of the season. Here’s what Lewis had to say about the suspension,
“We were aware of it since the end of the season so whatever happens, happens. It doesn’t hold us back,” Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis told The Enquirer. “We’re going to miss a player, likely, for a few weeks, but there’s nothing we can do about it. That’s the way it goes. You’ve got to do things within the scope of what the players are asked to do all the time, and that’s important. Just gotta do it the right way.”
Toward the end of the press conference, Lewis talked about the responsibility of the players for what goes into their body saying, “They’re responsible for what goes in their body, no matter how some things are what people use every day. But yet unless you have the right paperwork, you’re not allowed.”
This is not the first time that Burfict will be suspended at the beginning of the season but it is the first time for performance-enhancing drugs. His former suspensions were hits in a game against Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown in the 2015 playoff game and a hit against Kansas City Chiefs fullback Anthony Sherman in the 2017 preseason.
The NFL has not said what Burfict tested positive for but one of his prescriptions that could have tested positive for is Adderal. There has been a case by former Giants running back Andre Brown winning his appeal for a suspension that resulted from Adderal that was prescribed to him medically in 2012. Regardless of why he’s being suspended, Lewis seems to not be that concerned about the linebacker missing time.