The Cincinnati Bengals have had an amazing week, so of course, something bad had to happen.
It came Friday afternoon, just hours after the Bengals made a major splash signing free agent linebacker Preston Brown.
But now, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, current Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict is facing a four-game suspension for violating the league’s PED policy.
However, Schefer also reports that the issue may have been for medication prescribed to Burfict for his concussion suffered against the Steelers in Week 13. He was also prescribed a separate medication for his shoulder injury suffered against the Lions in Week 16.
Burfict’s appeal will center around the fact that he was on prescribed medication for the concussion he suffered on a hit from Steelers’ wide receiver Ju-Ju Smith Schuster on Dec. 4 as well as the fact that he suffered a Grade 3 shoulder AC sprain during the Detroit Lions game on Dec. 24 and was on prescribed medications for this injury as well, per another source.
If the suspension holds up, this is brutal news for both Burfict and the Bengals. The two sides agreed to a massive contract extension last year, but now, Burfict is set to miss the first four games of the 2018 regular season. He will appeal the suspension.
This could prove to be costly for Burfict’s wallet:
Vontaze Burfict stands to forfeit around $1.68M in 2018 salary per his 4-game PED suspension.— Spotrac (@spotrac) March 16, 2018
$896,470 in base salary
$223,529 in signing bonus
$562,500 in per-game bonushttps://t.co/NJTDXsSc0e
If #Bengals LB Vontaze Burfict loses his appeal of a 4-game suspension, the guarantees in his 3-year, $33M contract will void. That’s nearly $11.3M. Which means Cincy can move on if they want to.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 16, 2018
This is just the latest incident that will cost Burfict games. He’s been suspended in each of the past two seasons for violating player-safety rules. This will be his first suspension for failing a PED test.
Injuries have also cost Burfict far too many games over his last four seasons. Between injuries and suspensions, Burfict has missed a grand total of 28 regular-season games since 2014. 11 of those came in 2014 when he was sidelined with concussions and a knee injury that led to microfracture surgery. That led to him opening 2015 on PUP and missing the first six games.