Earlier this week, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict is facing a four-game suspension for violating the league's wellness policy, pending an appeal.
Burfict received a three-game suspension in 2016 for breaking a number of league safety rules, and was also suspended for the first three games of 2017 for an illegal hit on Anthony Sherman of the Kansas City Chiefs.
But Burfict's latest suspension is a rather interesting one, because he's not owning up to his mistakes and accepting the punishment. According to Schefter, Burfict is ready to point the finger at Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Ju-Ju Smith Schuster for getting suspended:
"Burfict's appeal will center around the fact that he was on prescribed medication for the concussion he suffered on a hit from Steelers' wide receiver Ju-Ju Smith Schuster on Dec. 4 and that he suffered a Grade 3 shoulder AC sprain during the Detroit Lions game on Dec. 24 and was on prescribed medications for this injury as well, per another source."
Smith Schuster couldn't help but seemingly laugh about the news, and took to Twitter to express his thoughts:
That dude Burfict been on too much Slurp Juice and now tryna blame me 😂😂— JuJu Smith-Schuster (@TeamJuJu) March 17, 2018
Burfict will be referencing this hit by Smith Schuster during the team's 2017 regular season meeting:
There is no love lost between Burfict and the Steelers. In a 2015 game between the AFC North rivals, Burfict tackled Le'Veon Bell and caused the star running back to tear his MCL, which ended his season.
When the teams met in the 2015 AFC Wild Card Round, Burfict delivered an ugly head shot to Antonio Brown - in which he was flagged 15-yards and cost his team, as Chris Boswell kicked a game-winning field goal for the Steelers. But Brown had to miss the rest of the playoffs with a head injury.
And during that same season, Burfict was also fined for hitting Ben Roethlisberger in the ankle, with the latter claiming that the Bengals linebacker did it on purpose.
With Burfict supposedly blaming Smith Schuster for the incident, it's just the latest wild chapter in a heated rivalry between the Bengals and Steelers. We'll find out if Burfict does a good enough job to convince the league office that Smith Schuster is to blame for his suspension.