CINCINNATI — Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict was suspended for the first three games of 2016 as the NFL began handing down punishments Monday for an ugly wild-card playoff game.
The league also is reviewing the conduct of other players and coaches during Pittsburgh's 18-16 road victory Saturday that turned on penalties against Burfict and Bengals cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones in the final minute.
Burfict was penalized for lowering his shoulder and hitting defenseless receiver Antonio Brown in the head after an incompletion with 22 seconds left and the Bengals up 16-15. Brown got a concussion and his status for Sunday's game at Denver is undetermined.
Burfict had been fined four times for dangerous plays during the season. He got a $50,000 fine for an illegal hit on a Ravens player a week earlier. Burfict also was fined $69,454 for three penalties against the Steelers on Dec. 13: roughing the passer, grabbing the facemask and unnecessary roughness.
The Bengals criticized Steelers assistant Joey Porter, who was in the middle of an onfield altercation after Burfict's hit. As players and coaches from both teams were on the field, Jones went after Porter and drew a second 15-yard penalty, setting up Pittsburgh's winning field goal.
"I've got a ton of respect for those guys," left tackle Andrew Whitworth said. "Joey Porter is not one of them. … He's a guy that has always run his mouth. He's always been disrespectful to people."
Also, Steelers running back DeAngelo Williams saw a foot specialist in hopes of returning for Sunday's game at Denver. Williams, who missed Saturday's win, visited Robert Anderson, the doctor who has also seen Peyton Manning and Drew Brees after their injuries this season.
L.A. meetings today
HOUSTON — On the brink of a vote that could return the NFL to Los Angeles, a consensus is building within the league for the Rams and Chargers to share a stadium in Inglewood, Calif., the Los Angeles Times reported.
Multiple league officials and owners not involved with the Inglewood project, or the competing proposal in Carson, Calif., say there is momentum to pair the two franchises in the project, backed by the Rams.
The Chargers and Raiders want to build a stadium in Carson, and to this point Chargers owner Dean Spanos has stood by his partnership with Raiders owner Mark Davis.
A special meeting starts today in Houston, where owners hope to find an answer to the two-decade L.A. vacancy.
One owner touted Inglewood over Carson, saying "the deals aren't even close," the Los Angeles Times reported.
All three teams want to relocate for the 2016 season, meaning time is of the essence to move and sell tickets.
The idea of the Chargers and Rams sharing the Inglewood stadium was floated months ago and formally proposed last week by Cowboys owner Jerry Jones in a one-page letter to Goodell.
Bears: The team promoted Dowell Loggains from quarterbacks coach to offensive coordinator.
49ers: The team asked to interview Tom Coughlin, Fox Sports reported. He resigned as Giants coach last week but the Giants still control his rights so the 49ers had to seek permission.
Giants: Former Falcons coach Mike Smith interviewed with team president John Mara and general manager Jerry Reese.
Panthers: The team is confident heading into Sunday's game against two-time defending NFC champion Seattle, if safety Roman Harper is anything to go by. "We are the better team," Harper said matter-of-factly. … Running back Jonathan Stewart is aiming to return after missing three weeks with a foot sprain. "Everyone is day to day," Stewart told the Charlotte Observer. "I plan to play."
Texans: Three assistants were fired in the wake of Saturday's 30-0 home loss to the Chiefs in the wild-card round: Receivers coach Stan Hixon, special teams coordinator Bob Ligashesky and defensive assistant Anthony Pleasant, the Houston Chronicle reported.
|WILD-CARD round||DIVISION round||AFC Champ||Super Bowl 50||NFC Champ||DIVISION round||WILD-CARD round|
|5. Kansas City 30||5. Green Bay 35|
|6. Pittsburgh||6. Seattle|
|4. at Houston 0||4. at Washington 18|
|4:40 Sunday, Ch. 10||1 Sunday, Ch. 13|
|1. at Denver||1. at Carolina|
|3:05 Jan. 24, Ch. 10||6:30 Feb. 7, Ch. 10||6:40 Jan. 24, Ch. 13|
|2. at New England||2. at Arizona|
|4:35 Saturday, Ch. 10||8:15 Saturday, Ch. 8|
|6. Pittsburgh 18||6. Seattle 10|
|5. Kansas City||5. Green Bay|
|3. at Cincinnati 16||3. at Minnesota 9|