NFL confirms Vontaze Burfict's $25,000 fine for ankle twists

CINCINNATI -- The NFL confirmed Friday that Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict has been fined $25,000 for the ankle twists that Carolina Panthers players took exception to this week.

Officially, the league termed the twists -- which weren't penalized in the game -- as unnecessary roughness "violations."

ESPN's Ed Werder reported this week that a fine was coming for Burfict, and ESPN's Adam Caplan also reported the linebacker has planned to appeal the decision.

On two occasions, in the third and fourth quarters of last week's 37-37 overtime tie with the Panthers, the Pro Bowl linebacker was caught by cameras turning the ankles of Panthers quarterback Cam Newton and tight end Greg Olsen at the end of plays, after they had been whistled dead. The one on Newton turned heads because the quarterback has been recovering all season from offseason ankle surgery.

Olsen was the most adamant of Panthers players who spoke about the incidents. He said Monday that he believed the league should suspend Burfict for his actions. Werder reported that in addition to the fine, the NFL has cautioned Burfict that the next time he has any post-whistle activity like the ankle twisting, he will have to sit down and meet with league officials to discuss his on-field conduct.

This isn't the first time Burfict has been fined. He was fined three times last season after a series of incidents. Twice in one game he was fined after getting flagged for hitting a defenseless player, and then striking an opposing player in the groin. Much like this situation with the Panthers, the latter incident in that game wasn't seen by officials, so he wasn't penalized at the time. The league later reviewed it, though, and docked him $21,000 for the infraction.

To date, Burfict, who signed a multimillion-dollar extension just before the season, has been fined $77,000, including this latest fine, assuming it doesn't get overturned by the appeal.

The NFL said he wasn't fined for any other infractions in Sunday's game, even though he had three actual penalties in the game, each of the personal foul variety. No other Bengals were fined from Sunday's game.