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Bengals LB Vontaze Burfict back at it again, facing 5-game suspension for illegal hit

The Cincinnati Bengals could be without their best defender for the first 5 games of the regular season due to an illegal hit in the preseason.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Preseason NFL games are supposed to be meaningless. You know, games where players like Ryan Shazier of the Pittsburgh Steelers intercept a pass and then get down to avoid taking an unnecessary hit.

Well, someone must have forgotten to tell Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict they are meaningless, because the talented linebacker is facing a 5-game suspension for an illegal hit against the Kansas City Chiefs this preseason.

This isn’t the first, or second, time Burfict has heard from the NFL in one way or another regarding his play on the field. He was suspended the first three games of the 2016 season after his high, and deliberate, hit on Antonio Brown in the 2015 AFC Wild Card game which left Brown unconscious and concussed.

Burfict is planning on appealing the ruling, but if the ruling stands, the team will be without both Burfict and Adam Jones for the first week of the regular season. The Steelers don’t play the Bengals in the first 5 weeks of the season, but although you can’t win a division in the first quarter of the season, you certainly can lose it by having a rough start to the year.

Here are the potential games Burfict could miss for Cincinnati:

Week 1 - vs. Baltimore
Week 2 - vs. Houston
Week 3 - at Green Bay
Week 4 - at Cleveland
Week 5 - vs. Buffalo
Week 6 - BYE
Week 7 - at Pittsburgh

To lose your best defender, and it isn’t even close, for those first 5 games could be problematic in the always competitive AFC North.

Stay tuned for the latest on this story, and others surrounding the Pittsburgh Steelers.

UPDATE: Here is the hit in which Burfict is being suspended for. While it is not an illegal hit in terms of the high, late or hit low on a quarterback variety, it is unbelievably unnecessary. This hit was very similar to the one Burfict put on Ravens TE Maxx Williams two seasons ago which he was fined $50-thousand dollars for.

And of course, the Bengals support Burfict and his appeal...