The NFL has suspended Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict for three games as a repeat offender of the league's safety policy.
Burfict's suspension stems from his vicious hit on Antonio Brown, which resulted in a concussion for the Pittsburgh Steelers receiver, during Saturday's AFC wild-card game.
Burfict was penalized on the play, which helped move Pittsburgh closer to field-goal range with the Bengals holding a 16-15 lead. A subsequent personal foul penalty on Adam Jones in the melee that followed made it easier for Steelers kicker Chris Boswell to boot a game-winning 35-yard field goal in the 18-16 Steelers victory.
In 2013, Burfict was twice fined for hits around the head and neck. He was penalized in 2014 for twisting the ankles of Panthers players, who had called for Burfict to be suspended.
He was also fined for three plays against the Steelers earlier this season, including a low hit on Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Burfict ended the season of Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell, but was not penalized for the sideline tackle that tore Bell's MCL.
The irony on Saturday is Burfict would have been a game hero had it not been for the late penalty. His fourth-quarter sack of Roethlisberger knocked the Steelers quarterback out of the game. He then intercepted Roethlisberger's replacement, Landry Jones, to give the Bengals the ball with under two minutes remaining.
A Jeremy Hill fumble on the next play gave the ball back to Pittsburgh. Roethlisberger went back in and drove the Steelers to midfield, where the Bengals had the Steelers stopped before the penalties on Burfict and Jones.