Before anything else, we all know that Vontaze Burfict, the Bengals’ talented, yet often penalized, linebacker has a rep. And it’s not one for being the cleanest player on the field.
Burfict has been fined numerous times for illegal hits and dirty play. From twisting Cam Newton’s ankle in 2014 to the helmet-to-helmet hit on the Steelers’ Antonio Brown in the 2016 playoffs, Burfict has become known for dirty and vicious actions on the field.
This is just brutal https://t.co/hBsIAJIBwO
His numerous infractions and resulting reputation has placed him in the position to be proclaimed guilty from jump, and that holds true this preseason. In this latest incident, Burfict destroyed Kansas City fullback Anthony Sherman as he came out of the backfield.
I see Vontez is in regular season form @pauldehnerjr @JimOwczarski @Kat_Terrell https://t.co/j8tNz7lShB
Referee Walt Coleman and his crew did not penalize Burfict on the play in question, but the League has the right to review all plays, which is why this discussion about a his suspension has surfaced. According to the NFL’s rule book, there are three ways contact can be deemed illegal against a defenseless player:
- “Forcibly hitting the defenseless player’s head or neck area with the helmet, facemask, forearm, or shoulder.”
- “Lowering the head and making forcible contact with the crown or ‘hairline’ parts of the helmet against any part of the defenseless players body.”
- “Illegally launching into a defenseless opponent. It is an illegal launch if a player (i) leaves both feet prior to contact to spring forward and upward into his opponent, and (ii) uses any part of his helmet to initiate forcible contact against any part of his opponents body.”
The discussion over the legality, not brutality, of the hit can and should be debated, as Burfict doesn’t appear to do any of the things mentioned above from the angle in the video that we have seen.
But Burfict could get five games for what could very well be a legal hit simply because of his reputation, and it’s a charge that the Bengals are preparing to fight.
“The Bengals are aware of the NFLs letter to Vontaze regarding a play in last weekends game. The film shows that the hit was legal, that Vontaze engaged his opponent from the front, and that contact was shoulder-to-chest. The Club will support Vontaze in the appeal process.”
Punishments continue to be an issue which plagues the League, and with this latest suspension, it’s an issue that is not dying down anytime soon.