Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict says that he has to change his style of play after being suspended by the NFL for repeated violations of safety rules, he tells ESPN's Josina Anderson.
“Like I told coach [Marvin Lewis], I wish I could take that play back because I probably would've hit him low," Burfict said to ESPN. “I don't like hitting low, but I have to change because it's getting flags because I hit him high or hit him in the helmet, and it's so hard to determine where to hit the offender because they're gonna tuck their body, and you have to pretty much tuck with them.”
Burfict was suspended for the first three games of the 2016 after a big hit on Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown during the Bengals’ wild-card playoff game. Burfict hit Brown in the head with his shoulder, drawing a flag for unnecessary roughness, as Brown was deemed defenseless. Burfict was fined four times for a total of nearly $70,000 for safety-related violations during 2015.
In his interview with ESPN, Burfict took responsibility of the hit.
"I tried to pull up at the last second, but it was obviously too late -- it's a bang-bang play," Brown said.
The suspension was upheld by the league after a round of appeals.
Burfict finished last season with 74 tackles, one sack and two interceptions in 10 games.