The Cincinnati Bengals could be heading into the season without starting linebacker Vontaze Burfict, who’s reportedly facing a five-game suspension. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Burfict is facing the ban for an illegal hit this month against Kansas City Chiefs fullback Anthony Sherman.
The reason Burfict is facing such a long suspension for an illegal hit is that he already has a history of illegal hits, including one that cost the Bengals a playoff game a couple years back (watch here). The NFL has fined and suspended the linebacker in the past for this very issue. He was hit with a three-game ban last year before the start of the season.
Not surprisingly, Schefter reports Burfict is going to appeal his suspension next week.
Bengals' LB Vontaze Burfict is appealing his five-game suspension, per sources. Hearing will be next week.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 28, 2017
If the Bengals do enter the season without him — it seems likely to be the case given his history — then they will certainly miss his presence. Last year he racked up 101 tackles, two interceptions and two sacks, and he took an interception back for a touchdown on Sunday in the team’s preseason game against the Washington Redskins.