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Vontaze Burfict facing 5-game suspension for hit in Bengals vs Chiefs preseason game

This is terrible news for the Bengals and Burfict.

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals-Training Camp The Cincinnati Enquirer-USA TODAY NETWORK

Vontaze Burfict is coming off a terrific game against the Washington Redskins but terrible news is emerging regarding the Cincinnati Bengals’ star linebacker.

According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Burfict is facing a five-game suspension for an “illegal hit” against Kansas City Chiefs fullback Anthony Sherman from the second preseason game this year.

Here is the play to be in question:

Per ESPN, if the suspension holds up, it will cost Burfict $882,353 in lost base-salary game checks. Burfict is being accused of hitting Sherman while defenseless, per ESPN's sources. But, this is not a play that looks dirty. Burfict didn’t go low, or high, he didn’t lead with his head. He just took out a defender.

Burfict will appeal the suspension at a hearing scheduled for next week. It appears the Bengals and Burfict knew about the suspension prior to today, but news of the suspension leaked at about 11:00 p.m. ET on Sunday.

Burfict was suspended for Weeks 1-3 of the 2016 NFL season due to repeated violations of the NFL’s safety rules. He has also been fined numerous times due to his on-field actions and breaking the league’s safety rules.

Burfict is playing on the final year of his current contract and the hope was he would prove he’s moved on from has past as he marches forward into the future, a future in which the NFL takes player safety very seriously. The Bengals have trusted Burfict in ensuring his questionable play is in the past. But in reality, this play doesn’t seem all the questionable and seem pretty routine. Burfict is certainly under the microscope though based on his past and everything he does is going to be heavily scrutinized by NFL fans and league office employees.

The Bengals play the Ravens, Texans, Packers, Browns and Bills in the first five weeks of the 2017 NFL season. As we saw today when Burfict exited the game against the Redskins to be checked out for a back injury and concussion, the Bengals are far better with Burfict than without him. He is a leader on defense and one of the best players on the field.

Cornerback Adam Jones is already suspended for Week 1 due to his offseason arrest.

If this suspension sticks, it would be a tremendous blow to the Bengals’ outlook this season.

We’ll have more on this as news continues to emerge regarding Burfict’s five-game suspension to start the 2017 NFL season.

Update: Here’s a slowed-down look at the play: