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Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict fined $50,000 for hit on Ravens tight end Maxx Williams

Bengals outside linebacker Vontaze Burfict walks off after a Week 17 win over the Ravens.
Bengals outside linebacker Vontaze Burfict walks off after a Week 17 win over the Ravens. (Gary Landers / Associated Press)

Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict was suspended for three regular-season games by the NFL for "repeated violations of safety-playing rules," pending an appeal.

If upheld, the suspension will begin Week 1 of the 2016 season.

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Burfict's most recent violation was his illegal shoulder to the head of Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown late in the Bengals' AFC wild-card playoff loss. The league also announced that Burfict had been fined $50,000 for his blind-side hit on Ravens rookie tight end Maxx Williams in the Bengals' Week 17 victory.

There was no penalty called, but the league ruled that Burfict unnecessarily contacted an opponent who was out of the play. Burfict appeared to hit Williams under his chin with his helmet.

According to the league, Burfict has been fined four times for player-safety violations during the 2015 season.

NFL vice president of football operations Merton Hanks made the suspension ruling.

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