Steelers’ Antonio Brown takes another hit from Vontaze Burfict
CINCINNATI -- For the third time in the past four trips to Paul Brown Stadium, Antonio Brown was the recipient of a jarring shot to the head courtesy of a Cincinnati Bengals player.
To nobody’s surprise, Vontaze Burfict was in the middle of it.
Burfict, who infamously knocked Brown out of the 2015 wild-card playoff game, momentarily sent the Pittsburgh Steelers All-Pro receiver to the sideline in the third quarter of the Steelers’ 28-21 victory Sunday.
Brown had caught a 13-yard pass across the middle near midfield and was wrapped up by two Bengals players. Burfict lowered his helmet as he joined in the tackle. The helmet missed, but Burfict’s right shoulder and forearm connected with the back of Brown’s neck.
Brown went to the ground and left the game for a play.
“It was a nasty hit,” Brown said. “Thank God I was able to come back in and finish the game.”
Brown, who caught the winning touchdown with 10 seconds left and had 105 yards receiving, also received a head shot in the December game here when he was leveled by safety George Iloka on a touchdown grab.
“They call it the Jungle, and there’s going to be some hard hitting,” Brown said. “It can be challenging.”
Burfict was playing in his second game since returning from a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s policy against performance-enhancing drugs. Burfict also was suspended for three games for his hit on Brown in 2015.
Burfict, who had eight tackles and two passes defensed, missed the final 4 minutes, 42 seconds of the first half with a shoulder injury after he was run over by tight end Vance McDonald. He returned in time to jar Brown on the Steelers’ first possession of the third quarter.
“The league will handle whatever happens to him next,” center Maurkice Pouncey said.
Bengals coach Marvin Lewis pleaded ignorance to Burfict’s latest hit on Brown.
“I don’t know what play you are talking about,” Lewis said. “There were a lot of plays out there.”