The NFL said Thursday that Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict's suspension has been upheld after the appeal was heard by Hall of Fame linebacker Derrick Brooks and he'll miss the first three games of the upcoming season.
The league also confirmed that Burfict met with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in New York Thursday, but it was unrelated to the three-game suspension Goodell gave him after this season for what was ruled as repeated violations of the player safety guidelines. Brooks' ruling had apparently had been handed down before Thursday.
Although Burfict was hit with a 15-yard unnecessary roughness call for hitting a defenseless player on the last play of last month's Wild Card Game against the Steelers on a play Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown received a concussion, Bengals defensive coordinator Paul Guenther and several players believed Burfict did the best he could to avoid drilling Brown while trying to make a play on a bang-bang pass.
"I think he was just doing his job. If (Brown) catches that over the middle they're going to kick an easy field goal, so what does he try and do? He tries to do his job get the ball off him," said defensive tackle Domata Peko two days after the game. "In games like that a flag shouldn't determine whether you're going to go to the next round. I believe there should be some kind of new rule in the playoffs where things are on the line that they'll have someone in the booth that can overturn the call." ESPN.com reported that head coach Marvin Lewis accompanied Burfict to Thursday's meeting.