BURFICT GETS SUSPENDED FOR THREE GAMES
cincinnati» Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict was suspended for the first three games of next season as the NFL began handing down punishments on Monday for an ugly wildcard playoff game.
The league also is reviewing the conduct of other players and coaches during Pittsburgh’s 18-16 victory at Paul Brown Stadium on Saturday night that turned on penalties against Burfict and Bengals cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones in the final minute.
Burfict was penalized for lowering his shoulder and hitting defenseless receiver Antonio Brown in the head after an incompletion with 22 seconds left and the Bengals holding a 16-15 lead. Brown got a concussion from the play.
Burfict had already been fined four times for dangerous plays during the season. He got a $50,000 fine for an illegal hit on a Ravens player a week earlier. Burfict also was fined $69,454 for three penalties against the Steelers on Dec. 13: roughing the passer, grabbing the face mask and unnecessary roughness.
Merton Hanks, the league’s vice president of football operations, said the hit on Brown during the playoff game “placed his opponent at unnecessary risk of injury and should have been avoided.”
Coughlin interviews. The Eagles completed an interview with Tom Coughlin for their coaching vacancy.
Coughlin is a two-time Super Bowl champion, who stepped down last week after 12 seasons with the Giants.
The Eagles have interviewed six candidates since firing Chip Kelly on Dec. 29.
Waiting on Big Ben. The Broncos’ playoff game Sunday against the Steelers is off the board in Las Vegas’ gambling houses while oddsmakers await word on injured Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s status.
One thing that is known is that Denver will be favored against the Steelers. Some online books that operate outside the U.S. have the Broncos a 6- to 7-point pick, based on the assumption that Roethlisberger will be playing.