The NFL has suspended Oakland Raiders linebacker Vontaze Burfict without pay for the rest of the season for the helmet-to-helmet hit that led to his ejection from Sunday's win over the Indianapolis Colts, the league announced on Monday.
"There were no mitigating circumstances on this play," Jon Runyan, the NFL's vice president of football operations, said in a letter to Burfict, via NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. "Your contact was unnecessary, flagrant, and should have been avoided ..."
"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."
The veteran will appeal the ban, added Chris Mortensen of ESPN.
Burfict previously received four-game suspensions in 2016 and 2017 for late hits.
In the second quarter against Indianapolis, Burfict lowered his helmet to initiate contact with tight end Jack Doyle, who was down on his knees after making a catch.
Burfict, a Raiders captain, had recorded 17 tackles through three weeks. He added another before being kicked out of the Week 4 contest.
While a member of the Cincinnati Bengals, the 29-year-old was also suspended for the first four games in 2018 for violating the performance-enhancing drugs policy.