Vontaze Burfict won't be fined by NFL for Ben Roethlisberger hit

ByColey Harvey ESPN logo
Wednesday, December 16, 2015

CINCINNATI -- Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict will not be fined by the NFL for his controversial hit on Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger on Sunday, his agent Audie Attar told ESPN on Wednesday.

According to Attar, the league saw what Burfict had been alleging: that he was pushed into the quarterback while he was attempting a pass rush.

It appeared to many that Burfict, the subject of the Steelers' recent ire, actually dove for Roethlisberger's ankles after the quarterback released a pass during the first half of the Steelers' 33-20 win in Cincinnati.

"I don't buy he was pushed," Roethlisberger said on an appearance on Pittsburgh's 93.7 The Fan on Tuesday. "I think he was definitely diving low for my legs."

When asked for comment on Roethlisberger's claim, Burfict told ESPN on Wednesday: "It's football."

The linebacker also brought up a play later in the game in which he was being blocked by Steelers tight end Matt Spaeth. Cameras appeared to show Spaeth grab Burfict's right knee while going for a low block in the end zone.

A Steelers source still sided with Roethlisberger, saying of Burfict: "Dirty play, dirty player. The tape doesn't lie. We're fortunate we didn't lose Ben for good."

Burfict appeared to celebrate a knee injury to Le'Veon Bell in the teams' Nov. 1 game, and he appeared to start Sunday's pregame scuffle that involved several players from both teams. The Steelers-Bengals rivalry reached a boiling point Sunday with several after-the-whistle fights in the first half. Roethlisberger said the game featured more in-game chippy play than he can remember -- "stuff that was kind of unusual."

Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said Monday that he and Steelers coach Mike Tomlin talked about the incidents.

"I think neither side wants that," Lewis said. "That's not the way it should be. I know our team understands it. I talked to [Tomlin on Monday], and his team understands it. I think we both feel good about things. It's unfortunate that it happened. Mike's addressed it, and we've addressed it."

Burfict has a history of serious disciplinary issues for his play on the field. He has been fined a total of $77,000 for four incidents, most recently a $25,000 fine last season for deliberately twisting the ankles of Panthers quarterback Cam Newton and tight end Greg Olsen.

The Steelers also question Burfict's intentions on another play in which he allegedly kicked offensive lineman David DeCastro in the face after the linebacker attempted to lift and slam running back DeAngelo Williams to the ground while tackling him. Cameras also caught DeCastro striking Bengals defensive end Wallace Gilberry in the face and pulling his face mask while the two were at the bottom of a pile.

ESPN's Jeremy Fowler, Ed Werder and Adam Schefter contributed to this report.

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