Suspended linebacker Burfict will appeal to NFL on Tuesday
New York (AFP)
Oakland Raiders linebacker Vontaze Burfict will have his appeal of a season-ending NFL suspension heard next Tuesday, according to a report on the league's website.
The NFL banished Burfict for the final 12 games of the season for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Jack Doyle of the Indianapolis Colts in the Raiders' 31-24 triumph last Sunday.
Burfict, who has accumulated more than $5.3 million in fines and stripped salary for rule violations, was ejected in the second quarter for a blow that NFL vice president Jon Runyan called "unnecessary" and "flagrant."
Runyan said Burfict's history of violations was a factor when slapping the 29-year-old defender with the longest suspension for a rule violation in NFL history.
"Following each of your previous rule violations, you were warned by me and each of the jointly appointed appeal officers that future violations would result in escalated accountability measures," Runyan wrote.
"However, you have continued to flagrantly abuse rules designated to protect yourself and your opponents from unnecessary risk.
"Your extensive history of rules violations is factored into this decision regarding accountability measures."
The appeal hearing will be presided over by former NFL Hall of Fame linebacker Derrick Brooks, jointly appointed by the NFL and the NFL Players Association.
Burfict's suspension could be reduced. He incurred a five-game ban for a 2017 hit to a defenseless player that was trimmed to three games upon appeal.
But Brooks oversaw Burfict's appeal of a three-game suspension in 2016 after a hit upon Antonio Brown, a suspension Brooks upheld.
The Raiders, without Burfict, will face the Chicago Bears on Sunday at London's Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
Raiders coach Jon Gruden supported Burfict after the ban.
"It hurts our team really bad," Gruden said. "I'm anxious to see what the appeal says. I'm not happy about it. At all."
Burfict played seven seasons for the Cincinnati Bengals before joining the Raiders this season.
© 2019 AFP