No matter how much the NFL fines and suspends linebacker Vontaze Burfict, he has proven incapable of respecting his opponents or the game itself.
Burfict has switched teams, from the Cincinnati Bengals to the Oakland Raiders, but he’s still the same dirty player. On Sunday, Burfict was ejected for a brutal helmet-to-helmet hit on Indianapolis Colts tight end Jack Doyle. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Monday morning that the league will suspend Burfict. The only question is how many games he’ll get. ESPN’s Chris Mortensen said on Monday morning that Burfict could get a season-long suspension.
Burfict was also suspended for dirty hits in 2016 and 2017, including one for a memorable helmet-to-helmet hit on then-Steelers receiver Antonio Brown in a playoff game. Those suspensions ended up being three games each. The NFL has to decide how many games to sit Burfict down for this time.
Vontaze Burfict has long history of fines, suspensions
Previous suspensions for illegal hits didn’t change Burfict’s behavior on the field, and while it’s doubtful a longer suspension will change his dirty ways as a player, it seems likely this will be a long suspension given his history.
Burfict has an argument as the dirtiest player in NFL history. Some of the hits you see from players decades ago were also brutal, but they weren’t always illegal. The league is trying to eliminate some of the worst hits from the game. Burfict keeps violating the rules, over and over and over.
Counting missed game checks due to suspension, Burfict has been fined more than $4.2 million in his career, according to Spotrac. And yet, nothing has changed.
Burfict is a Raiders captain
The Raiders signed Burfict knowing this was possible. He has never been able to play within the rules, and it was foolish of the Raiders if they thought he could.
For all of the talk of Burfict being a leader — the team stunningly made him a captain — his NFL legacy will be that he was a good player who has been more interested in headhunting opponents.
No matter how the NFL punishes him this time around, that won’t change. At some point the only reasonable action would be to threaten kicking him out of the league for good.
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Monday, Sept. 30
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