The Cincinnati Bengals will indeed be without the services of linebacker Vontaze Burfict for the first three games of the 2016 season as his suspension appeal was upheld by appeals officer Derrick Brooks on Thursday, according to Dan Graziano of ESPN.
Burfict’s three-game suspension was initially issued last month after he illegally hit Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown in the head late in the Wild Card playoff game in Cincinnati. Brown, who suffered a concussion as a result of the hit, ultimately missed the Steelers Divisional Round playoff game against the Denver Broncos after failing to make it through the league’s concussion protocol.
Burfict’s was also suspended for multiple games because of him being a repeat offender and he will reportedly lose $502,941 of his 2016 base salary as a result of his suspension.
It will now be interesting to see if the league schedules a game between the Steelers and the Bengals during the first three weeks of the 2016 regular season. If they don’t, the Bengals should at the very least be forced to play a divisional game without Burfict before his suspension is over. The full schedule will not be released until sometime in April.