Vontaze Burfict Reportedly Facing Suspension for Hit on Antonio Brown

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist

Cincinnati Bengals outside linebacker Vontaze Burfict (55) during the second half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers Saturday, Jan. 9, 2016, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Frank Victores)
Frank Victores/Associated Press

Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict could face a suspension as a result of his hit on Pittsburgh Steelers wideout Antonio Brown on Saturday night, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.

The basis for that possible suspension comes from the fact Burfict is a repeat offender who was fined "nearly $70,000 for hits and penalties in the Bengals' Week 14 game against the Steelers," per Kevin Seifert of ESPN.com.

Brown suffered a concussion on the fourth-quarter hit, which drew a 15-yard personal foul penalty and helped the Steelers move toward a game-winning field-goal attempt.

The play can be seen at the 6:29 mark of the following video:

Steelers assistant coach Joey Porter left the sideline to check on Brown, which is against league rules, but officials allowed it due to "real concern" for Brown, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

Moments after the hit on Brown, Bengals cornerback Adam Jones was also called for a 15-yard penalty following an altercation with Porter. That set up Chris Boswell's 35-yard game-winning field goal in Pittsburgh's 18-16 wild-card win. Schefter reported "Porter will be fined for coming on to field Saturday night and engaging Bengals players."

On Monday, "Steelers [offensive lineman] David DeCastro told 93.7 The Fan's [Jim Colony that Burfict] spit on him during Saturday night's game," per Colin Dunlap of 93.7 The Fan. Neal Coolong of USA Today described the play when the alleged incident likely occurred:

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DeCastro, on a running play in the third quarter, got underneath Burfict and drove him back several yards, planting him on his back. The two scuffled on the ground, with Burfict eventually rolling over on top of DeCastro. It took multiple players to pull the two apart.

Burfict, 25, was a major force in the game for Cincinnati, which has now lost eight straight playoff games.

He notched six tackles, a sack that temporarily knocked Ben Roethlisberger out of the game, a forced fumble and an interception late in the fourth quarter that looked as though it would seal a comeback win for the Bengals. The unnecessary roughness penalty, however, helped put the Steelers in position for the game-winning field goal.

That mixed bag is something Cincinnati has learned to accept with Burfict.

"Vontaze is obviously a great player for us," Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton said, per Jim Owczarski of Cincinnati.com. "He's done a lot of really good things. So, I'm not saying he's hurting this team. But the penalties are."