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Bengals LB Burfict avoids suspension for contact on official

Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis talks with outside linebacker Vontaze Burfict (55) after Burfict was ejected for making contact with an official in the first half of an NFL football game against the Tennessee Titans Sunday, Nov. 12, 2017, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Zaleski)

CINCINNATI (AP) - Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict won't be suspended for the contact with an official that got him ejected from a 24-20 loss at Tennessee.

A league spokesman said Monday that Burfict faces a fine only. He pushed an official's arm out of the way on the sideline in the second quarter after quarterback Marcus Mariota ran out of bounds. Two plays earlier, Burfict drew an unnecessary roughness penalty for hitting Mariota out of bounds.

It was the second game in a row that the Bengals (3-6) had a star player ejected before halftime. Receiver A.J. Green was kicked out of a loss at Jacksonville after grabbing cornerback Jalen Ramsey around the neck, tackling him and punching him.

The outburst by Green was out of character. He apologized after the game, saying Ramsey's comments during the game had upset him. Green was fined $42,541 by the NFL but wasn't suspended. Ramsey also was ejected from the game but wasn't suspended or fined.

Burfict's latest problems add to his history of fines and suspensions.

His biggest meltdown came in the final minute of a playoff game against the Steelers in the 2015 season. His hit to Antonio Brown's head drew a 15-yard penalty that moved Pittsburgh into range for a field goal and an 18-16 victory.

The NFL suspended Burfict for the first three games of the 2016 season in response to his hit on Brown and his history of egregious conduct. He got another three-game suspension to start this season after his egregious hit on Kansas City running back Anthony Sherman during a preseason game.

The Steelers have won their past five games against the Bengals, including a 29-14 victory in Pittsburgh this season. The Steelers (7-2) play a Monday night game at Paul Brown Stadium on Dec. 4.

Since the Bengals' playoff meltdown, Burfict and running back Le'Veon Bell have exchanged jabs on Twitter. After JuJu Smith-Schuster scored a touchdown Sunday during a 20-17 victory at Indianapolis, he and Bell re-enacted Green's takedown of Ramsey as their end zone celebration.

The Bengals play at Denver (3-6) on Sunday, completing a stretch of three straight road games. The Broncos are coming off a 41-16 home loss to New England on Sunday night, their fifth straight defeat.

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