Marvin Lewis: Fining Vontaze Burfict was undeserved

'He's being targeted'

CINCINNATI -- Vontaze Burfict was reportedly fined $75,000 for his hit on New England tight Martellus Bennett and/or stomp of running back LeGarrette Blount in Sunday's game.

Coach Marvin Lewis said he thinks the fine was undeserved.

“I don’t think he did anything wrong. We were not wrong here in my opinion,” Lewis said. “It’s unfortunate. That’s what I told them and stood on -- and will continue to.”

Lewis reviewed both the hit and the stomp.

“I don’t think he meant to do anything,” Lewis said.

“I’ve been through it back and forth (on a screen) as big as this board behind me. Hell, if I can see who steps where. He steps through and tries to help a teammate who someone on other team has his hand on his face mask, pushing him in the face. That’s what he’s trying to get to. That’s doesn’t matter. We’ll move on.

“We’ve got to get ready to play the Cleveland Browns.”

Burfict's reputation, of course, proceeds him. He started the his year on a three-game suspension for his hit on Antonio Brown in the Wild Card loss to Pittsburgh.

COLUMN: Nobody's Burfict. Give Vontaze a break

Lewis thinks Burfict is being unfairly targeted by officials and the NFL.

“I think that 100 percent,” Lewis said. “That’s a thing he knows he’s got to realize...so it’s not the national furor. Just play football.”

Burfict wasn’t in the locker room when during the time with the media. His teammates, not surprisingly, supported him.

“It was a bang-bang play,” left tackle Andrew Whitworth said about the play on Bennett. “He made a mistake. He got up and apologized to the player. The player even acknowledged that apologized. The only thing that we’re talking about is Vontaze is a monster. Why? Because everyone wants a story. It’s irrelevant.”

Tom Brady’s pump fake fooled Burfict on the Bennett play, leading him to hit a receiver who the ball wasn’t coming to.

“If his head was up, he could have seen the ball wasn’t coming there,” Burfict said. “It happens like that. It’s a lot faster than people think. That’s just reality.”

Cornerback Adam Jones has also spent time under a negative spotlight. He stuck up for Burfict, saying that aggression is part of his job description.

“Do we need to control him at certain times? Yeah,” cornerback Adam Jones said. “But the man is getting paid to be a hired hitman. There’s only couple of linebackers that play with that type of aggression. Those are the great ones. I’m not saying by far that Ray Lewis was a dirty player or anything, but him and Vontaze have the same characteristics. Exactly the same. It’s just that Ray Lewis grew up and found another piece of life and changed his ways about doing things.

"Vontaze is young. He’ll learn. I know he doesn’t want to keep getting fined," Jones said. "That’s the first thing he tells me. I know it’s biting at him. They’ve been patting him on his back the first couple of games. He’s been playing better.”

If Burfict was fined $75,000 for Sunday's game, that brings the total of his eight total career fines above $800,000. 

Web Editor Marais Jacon-Duffy contributed to this report.

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