Bengals’ Vontaze Burfict appealing five-game suspension for questionable hit away from the ball

Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict tackles Anthony Sherman during a preseason game on Aug. 19. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict faces a five-game suspension for a hit away from the ball on Kansas City Chiefs fullback Anthony Sherman earlier this month, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Sunday night. Multiple outlets, including the Cincinnati Enquirer, confirmed that Burfict is appealing the suspension and that a hearing is scheduled with the league on Tuesday.

The hit in question occurred during the first quarter of the Bengals’ second preseason game on Aug. 19. After Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith released the ball on what became a 36-yard completion to Travis Kelce, Burfict leveled Sherman as he ran a route out of the backfield.

While Burfict was not penalized on the play, the hit may have been a violation of an amended NFL rule that grants receivers running routes protection from “unnecessary contact.” According to the rule, Sherman was in a “defenseless posture.” Prohibited contact against a player who

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