Bengals' Burfict handed three game suspension

Mon Jan 11, 2016 10:15pm EST
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Jan 11 (Reuters) - - Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict has been given a three game suspension for repeated violations of player safety rules, the NFL said on Monday.

His punishment came after he struck Pittsburgh wide receiver Antonio Brown in the head on a pass during Saturday’s playoff game.

The controversial play helped the Steelers pull off a comeback 18-16 win that ended the Bengals’ season.

Brown is currently in concussion protocol. Burfict will serve the suspension next season, pending any appeal he makes.

Burfict was fined four-times for safety violations last year, including a $50,000 penalty for unnecessarily contacting an opponent who was out of the play in Cincinnati’s Week 17 game against the Baltimore Ravens.

(Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles. Editing by Patrick Johnston)

Jan 9, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals outside linebacker Vontaze Burfict (55) tackles Pittsburgh Steelers running back Fitzgerald Toussaint (33) during the first quarter in the AFC Wild Card playoff football game at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports