Bengals' Vontaze Burfict reportedly fined $112,000 for dirty hits against Steelers

In what might be the least shocking news of the season, Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict has been fined a substantial amount of money for hits that fall under the umbrella of unnecessary roughness. According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, the league fined Burfict $112,000 for multiple dirty hits that unsurprisingly occurred during a loss to the Steelers.

Who could've seen this coming?

Rapoport cited two specific plays as fine worthy, so let's take a look at them. 

The first hit came against Antonio Brown when Brown caught a pass over the middle and Burfict appeared to target Brown's head with an elbow. In the process, Burfict didn't just hurt Brown, he also hurt his own teammate, Jessie Bates. Both players returned to the game. 

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It's also worth noting that Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger accused Burfict of threatening JuJu Smith-Schuster before the very next play.

"He hits A.B., then, literally, as I am under center for the next play, he points at JuJu and says, 'You're next,'" Roethlisberger said after the game, via the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "How do you allow that stuff?"

Later in the third quarter, it looked like Burfict went for James Conner's head with his own head. He missed the tackle, but you can see why the league fined Burfict as it tries to eliminate contact initiated by the helmet.

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Burfict's history with dirty hits is extensive -- so extensive that it's a little surprising he wasn't suspended for his actions during Sunday's game. 

When the league suspended him in the offseason for violating its performance-enhancing drugs policy, it marked the 11th time the NFL had suspended or fined Burfict, according to The Athletic's Jay Morrison.  He missed the first three games of last season after an illegal hit in the preseason. He was absent for the first three games of the 2016 season after he hunted for Brown's head in a playoff game and concussed him. He's also made hits that could be considered dirty against players like: Maxx WilliamsMartellus Bennett, LeGarrette Blount, and Le'Veon Bell. Apologies if I missed a hit or two. There's been a ton.

It's a shame really, because Burfict also happens to be one of the league's better linebackers. Last season, he graded out as Pro Football Focus' fourth-best 4-3 outside linebacker one year after PFF assigned him the highest grade at his position group. 

After Sunday's game, former Browns left tackle and future Hall of Famer Joe Thomas called for the league to suspend Burfict for the rest of the season. He's not alone in holding that belief. He also might not be wrong.

CBS Sports Writer

Sean Wagner-McGough joined CBS Sports in 2015 after graduating from UC Berkeley. A native of Seattle, Sean now resides in the Bay Area. He spends his spare time defending Jay Cutler on Twitter. Full Bio

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