Vontaze Burfict Officially Suspended Four Games

Cincinnati Bengals outside linebacker Vontaze Burfict leave the field after an NFL football game against the Denver Broncos in 2017

The Bengals linebacker was officially suspended the first four games of the 2018 season for violating the NFL's performance-enhancing substance policy, the National Football League announced on Thursday.

The Bengals have made it clear they expect Burfict to lead them regardless of a suspension, but the contractual situation is something to keep in mind. Burfict also argued that his failed test occurred after he had been ruled out for the season.

An NFL spokesperson released a statement confirming Burfict's pending four-game suspension.

Burfict is expected to appeal based on the fact that he was on prescribed medication for the concussion he suffered on December 4 and a shoulder injury suffered on December 24.

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This will be the third consecutive season in which Burfict is ineligible for a season opener because of a suspension.

Burfict missed the start of the 2016 season for multiple violations of the NFL's player safety rules, including a hit that left Pittsburgh Steelers Antonio Brown dealing with a concussion.

He appealed and it was denied and on Thursday, he was officially suspended by the league for the first four games of the year. He initially was suspended five games but had the penalty reduced on appeal.

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