Cincinnati linebacker Vontaze Burfict was suspended for the first three games of next season as the NFL began handing down punishments Monday for an ugly wild-card playoff game between the Bengals and Pittsburgh.
The league also is reviewing the conduct of other players and coaches during the Steelers' 18-16 victory on Saturday night that turned on penalties against Burfict and Bengals cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones in the final minute.
Burfict was penalized for lowering his shoulder and hitting defenseless receiver Antonio Brown in the head after an incompletion with 22 seconds left and the Bengals holding a 16-15 lead. Brown got a concussion from the play.
Burfict already had been fined four times for dangerous plays during the season. He got a $50,000 fine for an illegal hit on Ravens rookie tight end Maxx Williams a week earlier. Burfict also was fined $69,454 for three penalties vs. the Steelers on Dec. 13: roughing the passer, grabbing the facemask and unnecessary roughness.
Merton Hanks, NFL vice president of football operations, said Saturday's hit "placed [Brown] at unnecessary risk of injury and should have been avoided."
While players and coaches from both teams were on the field as Brown was getting examined, Jones went after Steelers coach Joey Porter and got a penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct. The two penalties moved the ball from the Cincinnati 47-yard line to the 17, and Chris Boswell made a 35-yard kick for the victory.
"I've got a ton of respect for those guys," Bengals left tackle Andrew Whitworth said of the Steelers. "Joey Porter is not one of them. … He's always been disrespectful to people."
Bears promote Loggains
The Chicago Bears promoted quarterbacks coach Dowell Loggains to offensive coordinator, two days after Adam Gase left that job to become Dolphins head coach.
Loggains was widely viewed as a likely candidate for the job, given the way he connected with quarterback Jay Cutler.
Loggains and Gase played big roles in helping Cutler cut back on his turnovers and produce one of his steadiest seasons as a pro after he clashed with previous Bears assistants. Cutler had a career-high 92.3 passer rating and cut his interceptions from 18 to 11 in 15 games.
Caldwell still in limbo
Bob Quinn will get to decide Jim Caldwell's fate with Detroit. The new Lions general manager doesn't sound like he is in a rush to tell the current coach his plans.
"I'm not going to make a snap judgment on anything," Quinn said, adding there's no timetable to determine Caldwell's future.
The Lions moved relatively quickly to hire the 39-year-old Quinn from New England, agreeing to a deal Friday.
"It became obvious to everyone that Bob was ready for this job," Lions President Rod Wood said. "He had a great idea of what he would do as our general manager."
• The San Diego Chargers have strong support among NFL owners to have their proposed relocation to Los Angeles ratified, according to several people with knowledge of the league's deliberations on the issue. It remains unclear how that considerable support will translate as league leaders enter the final stages of sorting through the relocation bids of the Chargers, Oakland Raiders and St. Louis Rams.
• Carolina cornerback Charles Tillman will undergo reconstructive right knee surgery Wednesday, but the 35-year-old was noncommittal on his future Monday.