NFL to review allegations vs. Burfict

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The NFL will review allegations that Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict deliberately twisted the ankles of Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton and tight end Greg Olsen as they lay on the ground after touchdowns Sunday, a league source told ESPN's Ed Werder.

Panthers coach Ron Rivera sent tapes of the plays to the league office supporting the accusations. A source told Werder that the tapes reveal the ankle-twisting is more obvious on the Newton play than it is on the play on which Olsen was injured.

"This happens more than you think and more than it should," a league source told Werder. "Burfict is one of those guys. Always on the edge."

Rivera would not comment further, telling Werder on Monday night that he was trying to remain "politically correct and diplomatic.''

Earlier Monday, Olsen called for Burfict to be suspended.

"Punishment needs to go beyond a fine," Olsen said on Monday. "Guys like that don't learn from that stuff. He's been fined a hundred times for headhunting, and he did it to Kelvin [Benjamin] again. You watch the film; that's just what he is.

"At some point, if the NFL wants to really say they care about guys' safety, they've got to start putting guys out for weeks. Me and Cam are lucky we aren't out for weeks, or Kelvin isn't out for weeks. If you're going to start putting guys on other teams out, then the ramifications need to equal that."

Burfict was not penalized on either play Sunday, although he drew two other personal-foul penalties inthe 37-37 tie.

Burfict led the Bengals in penalties last season, including eight unnecessary roughness calls. He's currently tied for the team lead in penalties this season even though he's played just one full game.

A significant fine rather than a suspension seems more likely if the league concurs with the Panthers.

Both Newton and Olsen were already recovering from ankle injuries. Newton underwent offseason surgery on the same ankle in March; Olsen sprained his ankle versus the Bears and missed two practices last week.

This was the first time the Panthers felt Newton was healthy enough to use him a runner. He ran 17 times against the Bengals -- more than in his previous four games combined.

Burfict has a history of being fined. He was fined $21,000 for hitting a defenseless receiver (James Jones) and $10,000 for striking tight end Ryan Taylor in the groin during a Week 3 game against Green Bay last season.

He also was fined $21,000 last season for hitting New York Jets wide receiver Stephen Hill, now a member of Carolina's practice squad, with the crown of his helmet.

ESPN NFL Insider Ed Werder and David Newton of contributed to this report.

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