Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict is back in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons after he was reportedly fined Wednesday for his on-field incident against the Patriots last Sunday.
Burfict, who appeared to intentionally stomp on running back LeGarrette Blount’s leg, was docked $75,000 and has appealed the fine, according to reports.
Given his history of on-field transgressions, it wasn’t a surprise to see the league take action against Burfict. But Bengals coach Marvin Lewis wasn’t convinced that Burfict had violated any rules.
“I don't think he did anything wrong,” Lewis said, via ESPN. “We were not in the wrong here, in my opinion. And it's unfortunate. That's what I have told and stood on and will continue to.”
So why is Lewis defending a player who has been fined $279,329 since breaking into the league in 2012? He believes Burfict didn’t intend to step on Blount.
“I don't think he meant to do anything,” Lewis said. “And I've been through it back and forth as big as this board behind me. Hell if I can see who steps where or whatever. I see him try to step through [the pile] and try to go help [a] teammate. … Someone from another team has a hand on his teammate's face mask, pushing him in the face, and that's what he's trying to get to. But that doesn't matter — it's done. We'll move on and things will happen the way they happen.”
Earlier this week, ESPN’s Mike Reiss obtained coaches film that shows the incident. In it, you can see Burfict take two big steps and Blount reacting to the second one.
Burfict was suspended three games for violations of player safety and has been fined eight times in his career.
Video: From coaches film (courtesy NFL), watch Vontaze Burfict (55) deliberately step on Blount's leg after TD. pic.twitter.com/wtTPqy3XHP