The NFL has reduced the five-game suspension imposed on Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict to three games on appeal. Jon Runyan, NFL vice president of football operations, slapped a five-game suspension on Burfict for an illegal hit on Kansas City Chiefs fullback Anthony Sherman. However, James Thrash, an NFL-NFL Players Association appeals officer, reduced the suspension to three after conducting an appeal hearing Tuesday.

Based on the league’s decision, the NFL said Burfict violated two rules on his hit to Anthony Sherman in the third quarter of their preseason game last August 19. According to the NFL, Burfict violated Rule 12, Section 2, Article 7 of NFL rule book after he made unnecessary contact against a player in a defenseless posture.

The NFL also said that Burfict hit a player who is out of play, a violation of Rule 12, Section 2, Article 6. Because the hit was not Burfict’s first, the NFL said the linebacker must be held accountable for “this continuing unacceptable conduct.” The Bengals will play the Baltimore Ravens, the Houston Texans and Green Bay Packers without Burfict.

Packers to sign linebacker

The Green Bay Packers are expected to sign former San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks to a one-year, $3.5 million deal, according to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network Insider. The 49ers recently released Brooks after an eight-year stint in the Bay Area. The 33-year-old Brooks is known for as a pass rusher and a solid protection against rushers of opposing teams. Brooks is expected to back up starting outside linebackers in Clay Matthews and Nick Perry.

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Steelers sign cornerback Joe Haden

Veteran cornerback Joe Haden went unemployed for just hours as the Pittsburgh Steelers signed him to a deal after the Cleveland Browns released him. Haden, a two-time Pro Bowl cornerback, inked a three-year, $27 million deal with the Steelers, according to Rapoport’s source. Haden will earn a guaranteed $7 million in his first year with the Steelers. He made it to the Pro Bowl in 2013 and 2014 before he signed a six-year deal worth $74.678 million deal in 2014. After he signed the huge deal, Haden struggled the following years and played just 18 games since 2014, tallying just three interceptions and 13 pass breakups during that span. The Browns initially tried trading Haden, but they failed to find any ideal deal for him. Haden is expected to boost the Steelers’ defense, which ranked 16th last season regarding pass defense, allowing 242.6 yards per game. They also ranked No. 24 in completion percentage allowed with 64.6.