Contrary to a report from NFL.com's Ian Rapoport, Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict has been fined by the NFL in part for his hit on Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in Week 14.
Per ESPN's Adam Schefter, Burfict's agent, Audie Attar, confirmed the fine and noted the linebacker will appeal. Schefter added that the fine is actually not just for the play involving Roethlisberger:
The total fine money for the three hits is "close" to $70K, per Rapoport, who added Burfict is appealing the fines.
Burfict's punishment comes one day after Attar told Coley Harvey of ESPN.com his client would not be fined by the NFL.
"According to Attar, the league saw what Burfict had been alleging: that he was pushed into the quarterback while he was attempting a pass rush," Harvey wrote.
Roethlisberger and the Steelers were angry with Burfict for what they believed to be a blatant attempt to attack the star quarterback's ankles with a low hit in the first half of Pittsburgh's 33-20 victory.
During an appearance on 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh (via Harvey), Roethlisberger said he doesn't buy Burfict's excuse that "he was pushed" into him.
It wasn't the only incident involving Burfict and the Steelers on Sunday, as there was a pregame skirmish involving the Bengals star as well.
The Bengals can't afford for Burfict to cause problems that may jeopardize his playing status, especially with uncertainty around quarterback Andy Dalton's return from a broken thumb that he suffered in the same game, per Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com.
Defense will have to carry Cincinnati as long as Dalton is on the sidelines. Burfict is one of the team's best players, and the Bengals are fortunate the NFL chose to only fine him, given his history.