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Vontaze Burfict Reportedly Had Meeting with Roger Goodell

CINCINNATI, OH - JANUARY 9: Vontaze Burfict #55 of the Cincinnati Bengals argues in the second half of the AFC Wild Card Playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Paul Brown Stadium on January 9, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Steelers defeated the Bengals 18-16. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images
Tyler ConwayFeatured ColumnistFebruary 11, 2016

Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict reportedly met with Commissioner Roger Goodell to discuss the on-field behavior that led to his three-game suspension that will begin at the start of the 2016 season.  

Dan Graziano of ESPN.com reported the two sides met Thursday and that the suspension was upheld by appeals officer Derrick Brooks. Albert Breer of NFL.com confirmed the news. 

Burfict, 25, was hit with a three-game ban after concussing Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown with a hit to the head during their AFC Wild Card Round matchup.

Goodell's decision to hit Burfict with a lengthy suspension came after years of questionable hits. He's been flagged 16 times for personal fouls since entering the league in 2012, per ESPN.com. The Arizona State product has drawn at least a fine for illegal hits in each of the last three seasons. 

“Guys don’t want to stop me anymore,” Brown told The Cook and Poni Show (via CBS Pittsburgh) earlier this month when asked about Burfict's hit. “They want to take me out. They want to kill me. They want to steal my dreams. They want to ruin me. They want to end me, but we’re not going to let them. What we are gonna do is win more.”

Brown also called Burfict an "idiot" in an interview on The Dan Patrick Show and said his action cost the Bengals the game. Burfict's penalty, along with an additional personal foul, put Pittsburgh in range for a game-winning field goal in the waning seconds of its 18-16 win. 

Burfict was likely hoping a meeting with Goodell would lead to a reduced suspension without the appeals process. In previous cases—most regularly involving the personal conduct policy—Goodell has agreed to knock down penalties when players show remorse in face-to-face meetings.

Burfict has been one of the Bengals' most reliable defenders since arriving as an undrafted free agent in 2012, posting a pair of 100-tackle seasons and emerging as a top-tier run-stuffer. Injuries have held him to 15 games over the last two years, but Burfict remains a young building block in Cincinnati's defense.

A three-game suspension to start the 2016 campaign will put the Bengals in an uphill battle as they try to make a sixth straight playoff appearance.

 

Follow Tyler Conway (@jtylerconway) on Twitter

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