NFL Reinstates Vontaze Burfict

Last month, the NFL “quietly” reinstated Vontaze Burfict from suspension, as Tom Pelissero of NFL.com (on Twitter) reports. Burfict was barred from playing in the last 12 games of the Raiders’ season, but he’s been given the greenlight to play in 2020. 

Burfict has racked up an inordinate number of suspensions and fines throughout his career for safety violations. His most recent – a Week 4 leveling of Colts tight end Jack Doyle – brought down the hammer.

Burfict’s reputation allowed Jon Gruden & Co. to add him on the cheap – a one-year, $1.15MM deal. Now, he’ll hit the free agent market after working to clean up his playing style, Pelissero hears. Burfict’s new agent, Peter Schaffer, says he’s spent months viewing game tape and talking with coaches to make the adjustment. Schaffer says his client is serious about getting back on the field and, this time around, doing things the right way.

The linebacker’s ban marked the longest suspension in league history for an on-field incident. Myles Garrett was served with an “indefinite” suspension last year for his actions against the Steelers, but that amounted to a six-game suspension that was recently lifted.

Burfict’s controversial and dangerous style of play made him one of the league’s most feared players during his time with the Bengals. He was also frequently sidelined by suspensions. Burfict’s only complete 16-game seasons came in his first two years in the NFL. In Year Two, he earned a Pro Bowl nod as he led the league with 171 stops and tallied one interception, one forced fumble, two fumble recoveries, and three sacks.

At this stage, it’s not clear what kind of market Burfict will find. He’ll turn 30 in September and, despite his talent, teams will have to think long and hard about adding him to the mix.

There were no mitigating circumstances on this play,” NFL VP of Football Operations Jon Runyan said in an open letter to Burfict after the 2019 incident. “Your contact was unnecessary, flagrant and should have been avoided. For your actions, you were penalized and disqualified from the game. Following each of your previous rule violations, you were warned by me and each of the jointly-appointed appeal officers that future violations would result in escalated accountability measures. However, you have continued to flagrantly abuse rules designed to protect yourself and your opponents from unnecessary risk. Your extensive history of rules violations is factored into this decision.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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12 comments on “NFL Reinstates Vontaze Burfict

  1. rxbrgr

    How many players will Burfict have the opportunity to potentially maim before he’s suspended again? Anyone have an over/under?

  2. Decius

    I put it at 8 minutes left in the first quarter of his first game back. And I will take the under.

  3. dynamite drop in monty

    I’m usually the first to want to give players multiple opportunities but this guy should be locked up.

  4. sports is life

    Truthfully have to wonder if AB and his strange behavior isn’t from that vicious hit???

    Never acted that way nor exhibited any negative traits until then. Now he acts like a quack job. Strange how smashing the brain might affect a person

    • Bostonsportsforlife

      I say this all the time. a shot to the head like that can have great consequences

    • BuckarooBanzai

      Honestly, I’ve been saying this all along. That was one of nastiest hits I’ve ever seen … including LT’s hit on Theismann

  5. crosseyedlemon

    Burfict’s departure from the Raiders provides Chucky with an opportunity to bring back Aldon Smith…lol.

  6. If teams were liable for this kind of deliberate injury seeking by their players, Burfict wouldn’t find a market.

    Make it so. The teams should be liable for deliberate gross bodily harm.

    • crosseyedlemon

      That would only result in the NFL becoming a touch football league. A better course of action would be to relax rules to allow players to police themselves like they did back in the 60s.

      • Back in the 60’s when the players didn’t polices themselves and paralyzed for life was a regular occurrence.

        Jack Tatum was awesome and all but he crippled people. Often.

        It’s clear that pro football left to its own devices with the current “safety” gear is a death sport. Basically your call is for gladiator rules, “to the death”. I don’t think that’s fair.

        There are multiple ways to get to less injuries. Ironically reducing the protective padding is one way to do so. Without a facemask and such a hard helmet, a player would be less likely to want to spear another one.

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