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Oakland Raiders LB Vontaze Burfict suspended for season after illegal hit

By Connor Grott
Oakland Raiders linebacker Vontaze Burfict (R) was suspended for the remainder of the 2019-20 season after a helmet-to-helmet hit on Indianapolis Colts tight end Jack Doyle on Sunday. Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/4adf7b785553760339ab3deab2f63a7f/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Oakland Raiders linebacker Vontaze Burfict (R) was suspended for the remainder of the 2019-20 season after a helmet-to-helmet hit on Indianapolis Colts tight end Jack Doyle on Sunday. Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI | License Photo

Sept. 30 (UPI) -- Oakland Raiders starting linebacker and team captain Vontaze Burfict has been suspended for the remainder of the 2019-20 season following an illegal helmet-to-helmet hit during Sunday's game against the Indianapolis Colts.

The league announced Burfict's suspension in a statement released Monday. NFL vice president of football operations Jon Runyan said the linebacker's hit was "unnecessary, flagrant and should have been avoided" and added that Burfict's previous infractions led to the year-long ban.

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"There were no mitigating circumstances on this play," Runyan said in the statement. "Your contact was unnecessary, flagrant and should have been avoided. For your actions, you were penalized and disqualified from the game.

"Following each of your previous rule violations, you were warned by me and each of the jointly appointed appeal officers that future violations would result in escalated accountability measures. However, you have continued to flagrantly abuse rules designated to protect yourself and your opponents from unnecessary risk."

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Under the NFL's collective bargaining agreement, Burfict can appeal the suspension within three days. League sources told NFL Media that the defender will appeal.

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Burfict won't be paid during the suspension, according to the league. The linebacker's suspension marks the longest one ever for an on-field incident.

Burfict was ejected in the second quarter of the Raiders' 31-24 victory over the Colts. He was initially flagged for a helmet-to-helmet hit across the middle of the field on Indianapolis tight end Jack Doyle. After on-field officials discussed the play, he was thrown out of the contest.

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The 29-year-old Burfict received 13 suspensions and fines across seven seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals before signing a one-year contract with the Raiders in free agency.

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