The NFL has suspended Oakland Raiders linebacker Vontaze Burfict for the rest of the season. The reason for the punishment was his helmet-to-helmet hit on Indianapolis Colts tight end Jack Doyle during Sunday’s game.
Prior to the official announcement, Adam Schefter of ESPN noted the ban is the longest suspension for an on-field act in the history of the league. Albert Haynesworth was suspended five games for kicking and stomping Dallas Cowboys center Andre Gurode in 2006.
Every time Vontaze Burfict does some dumb shit I gotta go back and watch the most satisfying hit I’ve ever seen in football pic.twitter.com/gk7TYii16G
— Dilb (@danalewisberry) September 29, 2019
The 29-year-old Burfict is one of the NFL’s most polarizing figures. On one hand, he was a tackling machine for the Cincinnati Bengals in his first seven seasons, averaging eight tackles per game.
Vontaze Burfict was a Pro Bowler and second-team All-Pro in 2013 after making a league-leading 171 combined tackles. On the other hand, he was notorious for being one of the league’s dirtiest players. Burfict has been on the receiving end of a number of fines for cheap shots and illegal hits during his eight-year career.
As of last October, Vontaze Burfict had accumulated $415,000 in fines, according to ESPN. He was even suspended for a grand total of 12 games by the league office. This included a four-game ban to start the 2018 season for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs.
KICK VONTAZE BURFICT OUT FOREVER!!! pic.twitter.com/91IQghasuf
— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) September 29, 2019
He was suspended four games for a hit on Anthony Sherman (2017) and four games for a hit on Antonio Brown (2016).
Injuries also limited the Arizona State product in 2018. He suffered from hip and shoulder problems and was put in the concussion protocol in early December.
"I’m not sure if it would be overstating it to say, that should be the last snap he is ever allowed on a professional football field."@Espngreeny has had enough of Vontaze Burfict. pic.twitter.com/3FM05quWro
— Get Up (@GetUpESPN) September 30, 2019
Those factors contributed to his release from the Bengals this offseason, although the Raiders quickly scooped him up on a one-year deal. This season, he’s registered 18 tackles in four games.
With Burfict suspended, either Justin Phillips or Kyle Wilber could move into a starting position for the Raiders.