Bengals LB Burfict avoids suspension for contact on official
NASHVILLE (WKRC) - Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict was ejected from Sunday's game against the Tennessee Titans, and declined to speak about the incident after it was over.
The NFL has since announced that Burfict will not be suspended for the incident.
Burfict was ejected for making contact with an official, his second personal foul of the game.
Burfict was pushed by Titans lineman Jack Conklin after an eight-yard run by Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota took the ball to the Bengals 1, although it appeared as if Conklin pushed Burfict because Burfict was stepping on the hand and arm of guard Brian Schwenke as Schewnke was laying on the ground below Burfict. As he stared Conklin down, an official got in between them and put his arm out to restrain Burfict. Burfict shoved the official's arm off of him, resulting in a flag and ejection.
The Bengals linebacker had been flagged for a late hit on Titans running back DeMarco Murray just a two plays before the ejection.
Burfict declined to talk after the game, but Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis said Burfict has to understand he can't go over the line in any situation during a game.
"I've pointed it out, in those situations everybody is over there and you just can't push back," said Lewis. "Sometimes what happens, you push back and it's the official. You can't do that. He knows better. We pay a price, we pay a price because he hurts us when it's on the field that way, and then he's not on the field, so both ways."
Neither infraction by Burfict was egregious, and linebacker Vinny Rey stopped just short of saying he thought Burfict is being scrutinized by officials more than other players.
"I don’t want to say it’s unfair, but I would say that they, uh... they uh... maybe I won’t say it," said Rey, who admitted he didn't see the second infraction.
The first penalty on Burfict came when he bumped into Murray just after the running back had run out of bounds.
"The first penalty I saw him put his hands up when they called him," said Rey. "You’re running to the ball and you’ve got your momentum and he’s trying to pull up."
Although the Titans scored from the 1-yard line on the first play after Burfict's ejection, the defense held Tennessee scoreless in the second half until the Titans game-winning touchown drive in the final minute.
"It’s hard without him, but no man is bigger than the team," said Rey. "We should be able to go out and get a win regardless."
Burfict's ejection comes on the heels of wide receiver A.J. Green being ejected in last week's game after fighting with Jacksonville Jaguars' cornerback Jalen Ramsey. Green was hit with a $42,541 fine.
Green, who had a 70-yard touchdown reception with 5:03 left to put the Bengals on top 20-17, said after Sunday's game that players on team talked to Burfict after the game was over.
"He's going to be fine," said Green. "We talked to him and he'll be back next week."
Although Burfict will not suspended, he will be fined $30,387, which is the amount the NFL lists for a first offense for making physical contact with an official.
Burfict was suspended for the first three games of this season for an illegal hit on Kansas City Chiefs fullback Anthony Sherman in a preseason game.
He was suspended the first three games of the 2016 season for repeated violations of safety-related playing rules.