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Vontaze Burfict will not be suspended for alleged actions in Bengals vs Patriots game

The NFL is not suspending Vontaze Burfict following allegations that he stomped on Legarrette Blount and took a low hit on Martellus Bennett in the Bengals’ Week 6 loss in New England.

Miami Dolphins v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images

The NFL will not suspend Vontaze Burfict for his actions during the Bengals’ Week 6 loss to the Patriots, but will be fined $75,000, per Pro Football Talk.

ESPN’s Ed Werder shared the news that Burfict wouldn’t be suspended early this morning and Pro Football Talk confirmed that suspensions must be handed down by Tuesday night for in-game actions.

Burfict will appeal his fine, per PFT’s Zac Jackson:

This comes after Burfict made a low hit on Martellus Bennett after a Tom Brady pump fake in his direction. Additionally, in an attempt to incriminate Burfict, Patriots reporter Mike Reiss found game tape that made it seem like Burfict may have stomped on Legarrette Blount’s ankle after the whistle on a play in the game. But, there was no definitive angle that showed that actually occurred and it seems the league was unable to confirm that a stomp actually occurred. We found the same yesterday.

Burfict spent the first three games of the 2016 season suspended for repeated safety violations during the 2015 season.

The first play in question from the Patriots game came on a third-and-2 play with 11:22 remaining in the fourth quarter when Burfict appeared to take a low shot at Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett. Can’t go low, can’t go high is what Bengals fans are clamoring about as either way, the league could be upset with either decision a defensive player makes when going in for a tackle.

The next play in question came in the fourth quarter on a game-clinching touchdown by LeGarrette Blount. After the score, Burfict, by some accounts, appears to stomp on the leg of Blount, who took exception to the action, or some action that occurred. Further review showed that he might not actually have stepped on Blount, but stepped around him, toward the middle of the pile. Clearly, the league felt that Burfict did not actually “stomp” on Blount.

Neither Blount nor Bennett were injured on the plays in question. Had Bennett and/or Blount been injured, there would have been a far bigger outcry by the Patriots and others around the NFL for Burfict to draw a harsh punishment. But, that was not the case.

That was likely part of why the NFL suspended Burfict for his illegal hit on Antonio Brown during the Wild Card game in the playoffs last season. It may not have been intentional, but Burfict’s illegal hit with his shoulder into Brown’s helmet knocked the All-Pro receiver out of the game, left him with a concussion, and prevented him from playing in the Divisional Round of the playoffs.

Steelers guard Ramon Foster certainly believes something needs to be done anyway, but a suspension won’t be it.

“There’s no place for that, man. To continuously do it – one or two times, okay I get it, but every single time?” Foster said, via CBS Local. “A stake has to be driven into the ground on this guy and I’m not sure what they care about, touchdown celebrations or player safety, but something has to be done.”

Foster argued that both Bennett and Blount could have been seriously injured on the play and possibly ended his season.

“If you look an inch or two inside, if he goes more on [Bennett], that guy’s out for the season or at least for a longer [period] of time,” Foster said. “With the leg stomp on LeGarrette Blount, that guy has a wife and two kids. He’s trying to make his way in this league.”

Burfict has since apologized for the hit on Bennett.

This is just another example of why Burfict has to be very careful from now on with his play. Everything he does will be analyzed and scrutinized by fans and media to the point where he will get away with nothing going forward.

Burfict has already served a three-game suspension for accumulating too many personal foul penalties and player safety violations in 2015. Since returning from that suspension in Week 4, Burfict has racked up 21 tackles in three games, 10 of which coming in Week 5 at Dallas.

But since Burfict has returned, the Bengals have gone 1-2 as his presence has done little to elevate a defense, and Bengals team as a whole, that is struggling to stay competitive in games.

This is the ninth time that Burfict has been fined by the league for safety and rule violations. In 2015, Burfict was fined $50,000 for an illegal hit on Ravens tight end Maxx Williams in Week 17 and $70,000 for was fined for three infractions against the Steelers in Week 14 including roughing the passer, facemask and unnecessary roughness. In 2014 he was fined $25,000 for twisting the ankles of Panthers quarterback Cam Newton and tight end Greg Olsen. In 2013 he was fined three times, the first of which was for $31,000 for two actions against the Green Bay Packers, including hitting a defenseless receiver (James Jones) and striking tight end Ryan Taylor in the groin. He was also fined $21,000 for hitting Jets wide receiver Stephen Hill with the crown of his helmet and fined $8,000 for a facemask against Bills running back Fred Jackson, per Fox Sports.

The Bengals will host Cleveland in Week 7 before facing Washington in London in Week 8. Burfict will play in the game and hopefully, it will be less dramatic week for the linebacker.

Additionally, Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman has been fined for his unflagged facemask on Bengals cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick. On the play, Kirkpatrick was actually flagged for the same offense.