By Josh Dubow, Associated Press
Published: 00:53 BST, 1 October 2019 | Updated: 00:53 BST, 1 October 2019
Oakland Raiders linebacker Vontaze Burfict was suspended on Monday for the rest of the season for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Indianapolis Colts tight end Jack Doyle that is the most severe punishment in NFL history for an on-field infraction.
Burfict will miss the final 12 games of the season and any playoff games for 'repeated violations of unnecessary roughness rules.' He has been suspended three times in his career for hits violating the league's player safety rules.
Burfict has the right under the collective bargaining agreement to appeal the punishment in the next three days - he had one of his previous suspensions reduced from five games to three games on an appeal in 2017.
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Vontaze Burfict (L, white shirt) approaches Jack Doyle (C, blue shirt) at high speed
Burfict smashes into Doyle's helmet with his own helmet as the tightend catches the football
Doyle falls to the ground after the collision while Burfict dives forward beyond him
It's that history that led to the most severe punishment the NFL has handed out when it comes to player safety, topping the five games Tennessee's Albert Haynesworth got in 2006 for kicking and stomping on Cowboys center Andre Gurode's face, leading to 30 stitches.
Burfict had served two three-game suspensions already in his career and had been warned about severe punishment for future infractions.
The suspension is without pay, costing Burfict more than $1.1 million in salary and per game active roster bonuses.
Burfict was flagged for unnecessary roughness and ejected from the Raiders' game against the Colts on Sunday after a blow to Doyle's head early in the second quarter.
'There were no mitigating circumstances on this play. Your contact was unnecessary, flagrant and should have been avoided. For your actions, you were penalized