Bengals Coach Marvin Lewis is standing by linebacker Vontaze Burfict and told reporters Wednesday he believes Burfict was fined for his history and reputation and not for actually stomping on Patriots running back LeGarette Blount last Sunday.
The NFL fined Burfict $75,000 for stomping on Blount Wednesday. Burfict is appealing the fine, and Lewis thinks Burfict can win the appeal.
“I don’t think he did anything wrong,” Lewis said, per the team’s official transcript. “We were not in the wrong here, in my opinion. It’s unfortunate. That’s what I’ve told people, stood on, and will continue to stand on.
“I don’t think he meant to do anything. I’ve been through it back and forth. I see him trying to step through [the pile of players] and going to help the teammate who has a hand of another player on his facemask, pushing him in the face. That’s what he’s trying to get to.”
Burfict was suspended for the first three games of the season for repeated violations of on-field rules. He was fined four times in 2015 for unsportsmanlike conduct or other on-field infractions.
The Bengals listed Burfict as a limited participant in Wednesday’s practice with an ankle injury. Burfict left practice after suffering the injury but Lewis told reporters Wednesday afternoon it is not a serious injury.