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Bengals’ Burfict suspended again

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Bengals’ linebacker Vontaze Burfict missed the first three games last season because of his hit to Steelers receiver Antonio Brown’s head in the 2015 playoffs. He’ll miss the first five this season thanks to another rattling hit, this time in a preseason game.

The NFL has suspended Cincinnati’s defensive leader for leveling a Chiefs running back in violation of its player safety rules, the latest in Burfict’s history of hits that have drawn fines and suspensions.

Burfict hit running back Anthony Sherman in the chest this month during a pass play in which he was not the intended receiver, knocking him to the ground. The NFL has been cracking down on such hits as part of its emphasis on player safety.

The team said in a statement that it will support Burfict through his appeals process for the latest penalty.

“I’m crossing my fingers and hoping for the best,” Burfict told the Bengals’ website. “I hit hard, so it may have looked like I hit him in the head, but it was the shoulder.”

Broncos’ Lynch ailing: A person with knowledge of the diagnosis says Denver backup quarterback Paxton Lynch will miss several weeks with a sprained right shoulder.

KUSA-TV in Denver, which first reported the severity of the injury, said Lynch won’t need surgery after suffering the injury in his one series against Green Bay on Saturday. Lynch’s injury leaves Denver in a quarterback quandary beginning with Thursday night’s preseason finale against Arizona, where the only other available quarterback aside from starter Trevor Siemian is undrafted rookie Kyle Sloter.

“Every option is going to be explored,” head coach Vance Joseph told the Denver Post, adding that another QB will not be added this week.

Briefly: The Bills traded linebacker Reggie Ragland, a 2016 second-round draft pick, to the Chiefs in exchange for a 2019 fourth-round pick. The Bills also signed Keith Wenning to address their injury-depleted quarterback position entering their final preseason game. Buffalo turned to Wenning because starter Tyrod Taylor and third-stringer T.J. Yates are both being evaluated for concussions. … Ravens linebacker Albert McClellan is out for the season after tearing his ACL in practice last week. … Josh McCown will start at quarterback in the Jets’ regular-season opener at Buffalo, beating out Christian Hackenberg and Bryce Petty. … Giants backup defensive end Owa Odighizuwa has been suspended without pay for the first four games of the regular season for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.

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