Vontaze Burfict will be entering his seventh year in the league next season.
Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict is facing a four-game suspension for violating the league's performance-enhancing drug policy, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports.
The suspension is in relation to a drug test from Dec. 27, 2017, according to Schefter. Burfict had already been ruled out for the remainder of the season at that point, and his appeal will focus on the fact that he was taking medication for two injuries he suffered during the year, and according to Schefter, Burfict will argue that he would not be taking PEDs to gain an advantage while he wasn't even playing.
The injuries Burfict is talking about are a concussion suffered on Dec. 4 when he was hit by Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, and a Grade 3 shoulder AC sprain that he suffered against the Lions on Dec. 24.
No date has been set for Burfict's appeal yet. If he does not win the appeal, it will be the third consecutive season that Burfict will be suspended during Week One. In 2016 he missed the first three games of the year because of an illegal hit on Antonio Brown during a playoff loss against the Steelers the season before. In 2017 he missed the first three games because of an illegal hit on Chiefs running back Anthony Sherman during a preseason game. That suspension was initially supposed to be five games, but got reduced after an appeal.
Burfict, who will be entering his seventh year in the league next season, has earned a reputation as one of the NFL's dirtiest players, despite also being one of the best linebackers in the game. In 2013 he earned his one career Pro Bowl invitation after racking up 171 tackles and an interception.