Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict has lost his appeal to his four-game suspension for violation of the Performance Enhancing Drugs policy.
Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict has been suspended without pay for the first four games of the 2018 season for violating the league’s Performance Enhancing Drugs policy. This means that Burfict lost his appeal to overturn the suspension and will be forced to sit out.
While Burfict is not a stranger to being suspended by the NFL, this will be the first time for something off the field. Burfict has been suspended or fined 12 times by the league since joining the Bengals. He has also missed 28 games over the last four years due to injuries and suspensions. While he is one of the best linebackers in the NFL, that is only the case when he is on the field.
Burfict signed a contract extension with the Bengals last September worth three years, $33 million. However, losing his appeal for suspension will void the $11.3 million in guaranteed money and makes it easy for the Bengals to move on from the veteran linebacker if they choose. Cincinnati has stood up for Burfict many times including this one as head coach Marvin Lewis talked about missing the linebacker for the first part of the 2018 season.
The Bengals have brought in linebacker Preston Brown to take over the inside linebacker position that was held by linebacker Kevin Minter last year. The team will still have to find a way to fill the major void left by Burfict which could include bringing in another versatile safety that can slide down into the box from time to time. Whichever route they take, it’s just another four games that the Bengals have to play without one of their best defensive players.
While he is not allowed to play in the first four games of the regular season, he will be able to participate in the team’s offseason activities, training camp, and preseason. Burfict was not used in the preseason last year as he faced a three-game suspension at the beginning of the regular season. The Cincinnati staff still believe that Burfict gives them the best opportunity to win this year and will continue to back him even if he is only available for parts of the season.