Lewis defends Burfict, hit that drew suspension

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Lewis defends Burfict, hit that drew suspension

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

After first saying he was going to let the statement the team released speak for him, Cincinnati Bengals coach Marvin Lewis offered a vigorous defense of linebacker Vontaze Burfict when questioned further.

The NFL suspended Burfict for five games for his hit on Kansas City fullback Anthony Sherman. It's the latest violation of player safety rules for Burfict, and his second suspension — or "possible suspension" according to Lewis — but the coach insisted his linebacker has changed.

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“I think Vontaze has changed quite a bit,” Lewis said. “I think that he has changed tremendously. He’s changed a lot. The very next play, the quarterback runs, scrambles, Vontaze runs over, leaps over the quarterback when Alex Smith slides. The very next play after that, the back goes to the flat, he’s going down for a first down. Vontaze is in coverage and instead of diving in and spearing in, he touches him down and jumps over him out of bounds.”

Lewis said the he believes Burfict’s hit on Sherman was legal because he didn’t use his head and struck the fullback in the numbers, not from behind or the side which is specified as illegal in the rule.

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Burfict’s will have an appeal hearing tonight.

“Sometimes in interpretation things get lost and hopefully Vontaze will prevail in this,” Lewis said.

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