Today, Vontaze Burfict will begin his three-game suspension which will last through the end of Week 3 when the Bengals play the Broncos. Back in February, the NFL handed Burfict this punishment for repeated player safety violations, a harsh ruling for a guy who's been clean as a whistle off-the-field.
This suspension is not just a matter of Burfict missing the first three regular season games. He won't even be allowed in the Bengals facilities. Burfict also can't watch games or practices from the stands as a spectator. He is not even allowed to have football-related discussions with teammates.
Burfict will effectively be an outcast for the first three weeks of the regular season, but the good news is he already has a plan to get through it. In fact, Burfict's first day of suspension will be spent with his family and helping his sister settle into her college dorm.
"I missed the family trip to put her in her dorm, but I told her I'd come out there," Burfict told ESPN's Katherine Terrell.
Getting to spend more time with family can always be a blessing, so at least his suspension provides more opportunity to do so. However, Burfict knows he'll need to work hard to keep his body sharp for when he comes off suspension. Boxing is one of the methods he'll use to keep his conditioning up.
"This is my first time putting on gloves," Burfict said. "I like to try different things for conditioning… I think it’s been helping me a lot with hand-eye coordination and I think it’s going to transfer to the football field, getting off blocks."
This will be what life for Burfict looks like beginning Saturday at 4 p.m. ET, when his suspension officially begins. It will end on Sept. 26, the Monday following the Bengals' Week 3 matchup with the Broncos.
Until then, Burfict will spend the next three weeks in NFL exile, but at least he has some plans to help get through it.