CINCINNATI -- Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict is hoping a sit-down in the coming days with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell may result in the three-game suspension the league handed him Monday night being reduced, a source close to Burfict said Tuesday.
Burfict wants to travel to league headquarters in New York to meet with Goodell at the commissioner's earliest convenience, the source said. Exactly when depends upon the commissioner's schedule. It's a schedule that includes a trip this week to Houston for league meetings.
Monday night, a source told ESPN's Adam Caplan that the fourth-year player was planning to appeal the suspension, which was given for repeated violations of player-safety rules.
In a news release, the league cited Burfict's most recent transgression -- an unnecessary roughness penalty with 22 seconds remaining in Saturday's AFC wild-card game against the Pittsburgh Steelers -- as the tipping point. On the play, Burfict hit Steelers receiver Antonio Brown after Brown couldn't catch a high pass from Ben Roethlisberger. Brown currently is under the concussion protocol because of the hit.
NFL vice president of football operations Merton Hanks imposed the suspension. Hanks' ruling was that Burfict's action "placed his opponent at unnecessary risk of injury and should have been avoided."
If the ban is upheld, it will cost Burfict $502,941 of his 2016 base salary, and he will have forfeited $647,395 since just before the 2014 season, when he signed a four-year, $20 million contract extension.
Burfict was fined four times during the regular season, including three separate times for plays in the chippy Dec. 13 meeting between the Bengals and Steelers. Seven players from the teams drew fines amounting to nearly $140,000, but Burfict had to pay nearly half that from three fines for three incidents during the game. Burfict also played a role in a pregame scuffle between the teams at midfield. No penalties were levied for that fracas.
According to the NFL, Burfict was also fined $50,000 for "unnecessarily contacting an opponent who was out of the play" against the Baltimore Ravens in the season finale. That occurred six days before Saturday's wild-card game against the Steelers.
The NFL said the conduct of other players and coaches in Saturday's game is being reviewed for potential discipline.