The Bengals have another issue on their hands with a familiar face on their team. Sources say that Vontaze Burfict, their key piece on defense is in hot water with the NFL after a hitting Kansas City Chiefs' fullback Anthony Sherman in a preseason game this month. Burfict is no stranger to facing suspensions for illegal hits, as he has a history of penalties, fines, and hits against players throughout his career. Burfict is appealing the suspension, as he believes the Hit he made was legal and he shouldn't face any discipline for his actions.

Is it a legal hit?

Burfict's hit on Sherman seems to be in the gray area of what a legal hit is for everyone except the NFL. The NFL implemented a new rule this offseason, furthering protecting players when they seem to look defenseless and can't protect themselves from a hit. Burfict believes his hit was legal as he told Bengals.com "I hit him in the shoulder. I hit hard, so it may have looked like I hit him in the head, but it was the shoulder. I helped him up and he said he was good and I asked if he was good on the next series and he said, 'Yeah, that was a legal hit.'"

Burfict might have a point in where he hit the player but that's not what the NFL has a problem with.

The NFL has a problem with the timing of the hit. The hit was right after Sherman was making a cut in his route and looked defenseless and couldn't protect himself. This new NFL rule might've been made for Burfict, as they are trying to protect players and punish repeat offenders for continuing to put players at risk for injury.

The Bengals are supporting Burfict on this impending suspension as they released a statement saying "The film shows that the hit was legal" and that "the Club will support Vontaze in the appeal process." The Bengals might be backing their player because they know how much of an impact Burfict has on their defense.

History repeats itself

As many people know, Vontaze Burfict has a rather long history of illegal hits, unnecessary roughness penalties, and suspensions. If his five-game suspension is upheld he will miss games against the Ravens, Texans, Packers, Browns, and Bills. What might be even more hurtful than the games he will miss is the money he will lose. Missing those five games will cost Burfict over $800,000 in revenue.

He was fined for more than that amount over his career. His reputation for making dirty plays are coming back to haunt Burfict, as this hit wouldn't even be a discussion if it was made by any other player.

The Bengals can't afford to lose Burfict as he is clearly the tone-setter for their defense. Their first five games aren't a cake walk, as their opponents offense can put up some points in a hurry.

With a hearing set for next week according to sources, Burfict and the Bengals will be holding their breath on whether or not their star backer will be absent for the first five games of the season.

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