The NFL announced Thursday that Bengals LB Vontaze Burfict’s four-game suspension for violating the Performance-Enhancing Drug policy has been upheld following an unsuccessful appeal.
Burfict’s appeal centered around the fact that he was on prescribed medication for the concussion he suffered after taking a hit from Steelers WR Ju-Ju Smith Schuster along with the Grade 3 shoulder AC sprain he was dealing with. Burfict was reportedly on prescribed medications for this injury as well, which triggered the positive test.
Burfict argued that the disputed test occurred Dec. 27, when he had already been ruled out for the season, and he would not be using any drug to gain an advantage when he wasn’t even playing.
This is a big deal for Burfict not just because it’s his latest suspension, but the guarantees in his three-year, $33 million contract will void and make it easier for the Bengals to move on from him if they want to go that route.
Burfict, 27, wound up signing on with the Bengals as an undrafted free agent out of Arizona State back in 2012. He was in the final year of his four-year, $20 million contract when the Bengals signed him to a three-year $38.68M extension last year.
Burfict stands to make base salaries of $3.81 million (2018), $5 million (2019), and $6.18 million (2020) over the remainder of the contract.
In 2017, Burfict appeared in 10 games and recorded 69 tackles, two sacks, a forced fumble and two pass defenses. Pro Football Focus had him rated as the No. 12 linebacker out of 87 qualifying players.