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Bengals Linebacker Vontaze Burfict's 3-Game Suspension Upheld By NFL

The often-fined linebacker met today with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to discuss his on-field behavior and steps he can take to avoid disciplinary action in the future.

Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict's three-game suspension was upheld today by NFL appeals officer Derrick Brooks, according to reports by and ESPN.

Burfict, who was suspended following several incidences, the latest involving unnecessary roughness penalties in the Wild Card playoff game against Pittsburgh, had appealed the suspension, which was given to start the 2016 season.

The hit against Pittsburgh that sent Burfict to the doghouse was a shoulder-to-head blow against defenseless Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown, who suffered a concussion and missed Pittsburgh's divisional round loss that ended its season.

Burfict met today with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to discuss his on-field behavior and steps he can take to avoid further disciplinary action in the future, ESPN said. "Burfict, his agents and Bengals coach Marvin Lewis were at the meeting Thursday with Goodell and NFL executive VP Troy Vincent," said the ESPN report.

"One source said the meeting was at the request of Burfict and Lewis, and compared it to similar meetings in the past involving players such as Ndamukong Suh, James Harrison and Brandon Meriweather," ESPN said. "Goodell and the league view such meetings as productive and point out that none of those players has returned since the meetings in question."

Burfict, an emotional outside linebacker with elite skills, also is a heavily penalized player and has been fined so often that he reportedly will have forfeited nearly $700,000 in personal earnings since just before the 2014 season through the end of next season's suspension.

The three-game suspension will reportedly cost Burfict $502,941 of his 2016 base salary. Burfict was fined $50,000 for a Week 17 hit on Baltimore Ravens tight end Maxx Williams and $70,000 following the Week 14 meeting against the Steelers in Cincinnati.

Burfict has been flagged 16 times for personal foul penalties in the regular season and postseason since entering the league in 2012, according to ESPN.

Burfict signed a four-year, $20 million contract extension in 2014. In 2015, he totaled 74 tackles, one sack, two interceptions and five passes defensed in 10 games following his mid-season return from micro-fracture knee surgery. He is a two-time Bengals season tackle leader.

The undrafted talent out of Arizona State will be a fifth-year NFL player in 2016. Credited by coaches for exceptional natural football instincts and field awareness, Burfict was signed as a college free agent and validated projections that he would be a first-round choice.

Previous to his signing, there were reports that he was undisciplined, but he led the Bengals in tackles as a rookie, earned a Pro Bowl nod and was named second-team Associated Press All-Pro.

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