Bengals bad boy Vontaze Burfict is once again in trouble with the NFL, but there are no flags on the field this time around.
The linebacker, whose vicious hits and unsportsmanlike conduct have earned him numerous fines, suspensions and an ejection during his Cincinnati career, is now facing a four-game suspension for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy, according to ESPN.
The punishment is pending an appeal and would be the first linking Burfict to PEDs.
Burfict, 27, is expected to appeal, per the report, arguing that he was on prescribed medication for a concussion he suffered on a hit from Steelers receiver Ju-Ju Smith Schuster on Dec. 4.
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Burfict was also on medication for a shoulder sprain he suffered during a Dec. 24 game against the Lions, ESPN reports. The shoulder injury kept Burfict out for the rest of the season and occurred three days before his failed drug test on Dec. 27.
The former Pro-Bowler most recently played dirty during the Bengals’ game against the Titans on Nov. 12. Burfict was tossed for the first time in his six-year career after making contact with a referee on the sideline. The ejection came just two plays after he was flagged for unnecessary roughness.
But that was far from his first run-in with the league’s disciplinarians. Burfict was suspended for the first three games of the 2016-17 season for repeatedly violating player safety rules, including a dangerous hit to the head of Steelers receiver Antonio Brown during a wild-card game.
Burfict was then hit with another three-game ban for the start of last season (reduced from five games) after an illegal hit against Chiefs fullback Anthony Sherman during a preseason game.
The veteran has racked up more than $300,000 in fines for various unsportsmanlike plays, such as twisting opposing players’ ankles and stomping on legs.
The Bengals, who signed Burfict to a three-year, $38.68 million deal before last season, may now be looking at more time lost for their troublesome linebacker.