Vontaze Burfict

Free Agent LB Vontaze Burfict Arrested

Free agent linebacker Vontaze Burfict was arrested early this morning, according to a report from ESPN. The 30-year-old was reportedly arrested in Nevada on a misdemeanor battery charge.

Records from the Clark County Detention Center show that Burfict is being held on a $1,000 bond, and a hearing for his case is scheduled for Monday. As the ESPN report notes, “information about the incident” that led to the arrest wasn’t readily available.

Burfict hasn’t been immune to controversy throughout his eight-year career, as the veteran has been suspended for 22 games and fined more than $5.0MM. Besides a 2018 ban for violating the leagues’ policy against performance-enhancing drugs, Burfict has generally been suspended for his on-field conduct. This includes a 12-game ban during the 2019 campaign following several helmet-to-helmet hits on Colts players.

The NFL reinstated Burfict back in February, giving him the green light to play during the 2020 campaign. So far, there hasn’t been any reported interest in the linebacker, although his agent said this offseason that the linebacker was working to change his style of play to fit the NFL’s rules (per ESPN).

The 2012 undrafted free agent out of Arizona State earned a Pro Bowl nod during his sophomore campaign after finishing with a league-leading 171 tackles (along with three sacks, one forced fumble, and one interception). That was the last time Burfict appeared in all 16 games during a season. He was ultimately cut by the Bengals at the end of the 2018 season, and he later joined the Raiders on a one-year pact.

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.”

League Notes: Burfict, Goodell, Kearse, Rivers

In an exclusive interview with Vic Tafur of The Athletic (subscription required), controversial Raiders linebacker Vontaze Burfict laid into the league and did not seem to leave any thought unspoken. Burfict, who is currently serving a suspension that began after Week 4 and spans to the end of the season, was adamant that his behavior does not compare to Browns defensive end Myles Garrett, who was recently suspended indefinitely after swinging a helmet at Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph.

Burfict also detailed the suspension process, including the appeal meeting he had with league executives. The former Bengals linebacker claims the league had already decided on the suspension prior to the meeting and had no interest in hearing his side of the story. On top of some colorful language used at the expense of multiple execs, the piece offers an interesting view into Burfict’s place in the Raiders locker room.

Here’s more from around the NFC:

  • Vikings safety Jayron Kearse may not be in Minnesota for much longer given the tone of his tweets today. This morning Kearse tweeted out that he was “excited” for his future, but when a fan replied asking if the Vikings will be a part of his future, Kearse replied “No.” Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press noted the back and fourth and added that Kearse did not answer him on Friday when Tomasson asked if he would start in tomorrow’s game against the Broncos given Anthony Harris‘ injury. Tomasson speculates that Andrew Sendejo could instead be the starting safety.
  • Longtime Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers‘ contract expires at the end of this season and set to turn 38 in December, it would not be a shock for the veteran to declare this his last professional season. However, Rivers remains noncommittal on his future, according to Eric D. Williams of ESPN. Rivers still has a desire to play in the Chargers new stadium when it opens in 2020, but wants to take some time after the season ends to evaluate where he is physically and mentally before making any final determination.

NFL Upholds Vontaze Burfict’s Suspension

Vontaze Burfict‘s appeal was unsuccessful. The Raiders linebacker will remain suspended for the rest of the 2019 season, the league announced. Appeals officer Derrick Brooks upheld the ban Wednesday.

The NFL suspended Burfict for the Raiders’ final 12 games, citing a pattern of on-field actions — one that hit a breaking point when Burfict leveled Jack Doyle during Week 4’s Raiders-Colts game.

This may end Burfict’s Raiders tenure and run in the NFL, considering the number of suspensions the longtime Bengals linebacker has racked up. Burfict has not played more than 11 games in a season since 2013. The former UDFA has run into 14 fines or suspensions since coming into the league in 2012.

After the Bengals released Burfict this offseason, he caught on with former Cincinnati DC Paul Guenther in Oakland. Burfict will not collect the remainder of his one-year, $1.15MM base salary from the Raiders, who went on to upset the Colts after Burfict’s ejection and defeated the Bears in London without him. Tahir Whitehead and Nicholas Morrow played in Oakland’s nickel set against Chicago.

Latest On Raiders LB Vontaze Burfict

There could be more trouble for Raiders linebacker Vontaze Burfict. Burfict was tossed out of last Sunday’s game against Indianapolis following his helmet-to-helmet hit on Colts tight end Jack Doyle, and the NFL informed Burfict in a letter several days ago that it found another helmet-to-helmet hit from the same game, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). The league will use both hits in its case against Burfict as it moves to suspend him for the rest of the season.

Burfict’s agent, Lamont Smith, has predictably taken exception to the league’s reviewing Colts-Raiders tape to find another illegal (but unpenalized) hit in addition to the one that led to Burfict’s ejection. In a full-length piece, Rapoport says Smith will argue that the NFL has singled out Burfict and is treating him differently than other players. But, given that Burfict’s history of violent play is largely unprecedented, that may be a tough argument, and Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports says Burfict is likely to lose his appeal.

Indeed, Burfict’s actions on Sunday, combined with his 13 suspensions and fines across seven seasons with the Bengals, make this a tricky case for the veteran and his reps. It’s also worth noting that Hall of Famer Derrick Brooks – who upheld Burfict’s three-game suspension in 2016 after his controversial hit on Antonio Brown – will be presiding over the hearing.


If the 12-game suspension stands, it will go down as the longest one ever levied for an on-field incident.

AFC Rumors: Chiefs, Colts, Burfict, Allen

Although Tyreek Hill returned to practice this week, the Chiefs‘ offense will continue to operate without its premier wide receiver Sunday. The Chiefs ruled out Hill, but Damien Williams is expected to return to action, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Kansas City’s starting running back missed the past two games with a knee injury, leading to LeSean McCoy and second-year back Darrel Williams splitting time in the backfield. Damien Williams amassed 154 scrimmage yards and scored in the Chiefs’ divisional-round win over the Colts last season. Signs point to Hill returning in Week 6.

Shifting first to the team traveling to Missouri for this week’s Sunday-nighter, here’s the AFC’s latest:

  • Darius Leonard will miss his third consecutive game due to a concussion. Both Colts starting safeties will be out, with Clayton Geathers (concussion) joining Malik Hooker on the mend. Hooker is recovering from a knee injury. T.Y. Hilton got in a second straight limited practice, putting Indianapolis’ top wideout in line to return, but rookie receiver Parris Campbell underwent a procedure on his knee and will be out for an unknown time period, Mike Wells of ESPN.com notes. Campbell has played in each Colts game this season but missed preseason time with a hamstring malady.
  • The Bengals were expected to take their lumps this season. The Broncos‘ 0-4 start has surprised. But executives around the league are not anticipating a firesale for either franchise. “I agree they absolutely should be shopping players (ahead of the Oct. 29 trade deadline), but I have my doubts,” an NFL exec told CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora. “We’re applying reason and logic, but I’m not sure those teams will fully embrace what needs to be done.” Denver, which did trade Demaryius Thomas before last season’s deadline, has standouts from its previous Super Bowl team on expiring contracts — Chris Harris and Emmanuel Sanders. The Bengals house veterans A.J. Green, Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap. But Green is still recovering from injury and the latter two are early into 2018 extensions.
  • Josh Allen logged a full practice Friday, putting the Bills‘ starter on a path toward returning Sunday against the Titans. Allen suffered a concussion against the Patriots. Matt Barkley would start if the Bills, who have a Week 6 bye, play it safe with their offensive centerpiece.
  • Vontaze Burfict faces a rest-of-the-season suspension that could well end his career. The polarizing Raiders linebacker’s appeal is scheduled for Tuesday, and ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler tweets his argument will be based around the lack of precedent for a 13-week suspension ensuing because of one hit. However, the NFL said in its letter to the oft-suspended linebacker this ban was issued for a pattern of on-field decisions, rather than merely his collision with Jack Doyle. This considered, Burfict’s argument may not be successful.

Latest On Raiders’ Vontaze Burfict

The appeal hearing for Raiders linebacker Vontaze Burfict will take place on Tuesday, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter) hears. As it stands, Burfict is facing a suspension that would sideline him for the rest of the season. 

Per the collective bargaining agreement, these sessions are heard by an appeals officer jointly appointed by the NFL and NFLPA. This hearing will be presided by Hall of Famer Derrick Brooks, who upheld Burfict’s three-game suspension in 2016 after his controversial hit on Antonio Brown.

The NFL moved to keep Burfict off the field for the final 13 weeks of the ’19 campaign after he drove his head into Jack Doyle‘s helmet on Sunday. Burfict’s history won’t help him here but this is, by far, the lengthiest suspension ever set against a player for an on-field infraction, so Burfict may have a good chance at getting the suspension reduced.

Raiders’ Vontaze Burfict To Appeal Ban

As expected, Raiders linebacker Vontaze Burfict will appeal his season-long suspension, agent Lamont Smith tells Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). If Burfict cannot overturn the ban, he’ll be sidelined for the remaining 12 games of the 2019 season. 

The NFL moved to keep Burfict off the field for the final 13 weeks of the ’19 campaign after he drove his head into Jack Doyle‘s helmet on Sunday. This is, by far, the lengthiest suspension ever levied against a player for an on-field infraction, so Burfict may have a good chance at getting the suspension reduced.

Obviously, Burfict’s history of rules violations is playing a big role here. Burfict has racked up 14 fines and/or suspensions from the league office throughout his career, including three league office penalties in 2018. Throughout his career, Burfict’s tenacity has been a major double-edged sword and source of controversy. He’s been one of the league’s most feared defenders for all of the right, and all of the wrong, reasons.

Regardless of what happens in his appeal, Burfict figures to be on extremely thin ice with the NFL moving forward. It’s worth noting that the veteran will be eligible for free agency once again in March, after the expiration of his one-year, $2MM deal with Oakland.

Raiders’ Vontaze Burfict Facing Season-Long Ban

Vontaze Burfict is facing a season-long suspension for his late-game hit on Colts tight end Jack Doyle, a source tells ESPN.com’s Chris Mortensen (on Twitter). Burfict has a history of player safety violations and the NFL appears poised to send a message.

There were no mitigating circumstances on this play,” NFL V.P. of Football Operations Jon Runyan said in an open letter to Burfict. “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.”

A suspension was viewed as likely after Burfict’s ejection from the game, but a season-long ban was not necessarily expected. Burfict may fight the suspension, but he’s facing an uphill battle – in seven seasons, Burfict has earned 14 total fines and/or suspensions from the league office, including three times in 2018.

In Sunday’s game against the Colts, Burfict lowered his helmet and rammed it into the helmet of Doyle. It’s an awful look for Burfict, given his checkered past, and a not-so-great look for the Raiders, who made Burfict a captain this offseason.

If Burfict is indeed suspended for the length of the season, it would be the longest ban for an on-field act in league history, according to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter). The previous watermark is believed to belong to Albert Haynesworth, who drew a five-game suspension for stomping on the face of Cowboys center Andre Gurode.

Burfict, 29, has 628 tackles and 8.5 sacks to his credit over the course of seven seasons with the Bengals and 1/4 season with the Raiders. In the Raiders portion, he has tallied 18 total stops.

After beating the Colts 31-24, the Raiders are at the .500 mark as they head into Week 5 against the Bears. They’ll try to advance to 3-2 as they take the field, likely without Burfict.

LB Notes: Broncos, Burfict, Jets, Judon

As we wind down the final week of the 2019 offseason, let’s look at a few of the league’s linebacker situations. The Broncos are one of the two teams opening training camp next week, joining the Falcons, and they’ve had a quietly interesting year at this spot.

  • Denver passed on adding an inside linebacker to replace five-year starter Brandon Marshall, but the report of the team being ready to make a major investment at this spot was accurate. Not only did the Broncos plan to select Devin Bush at No. 10 overall, they wrote the Michigan linebacker’s name on a first-round card, Mike Klis of 9News notes. Broncos VP of player personnel Matt Russell told draft rep Derrick Thomas to write Bush’s name on their card but instructed him not to turn it in, Klis adds. They ended up trading the pick, which became Bush, to the Steelers for additional draft capital.
  • The Broncos plan to use Todd Davis and 2018 fourth-rounder Josey Jewell as their starting inside ‘backers, and while that may leave the team vulnerable in coverage, the coaching staff has hatched an idea to help combat that. Denver drafted Oregon edge rusher Justin Hollins in the fifth round, and instead of hoping he becomes strictly an off-the-bench pass rusher, the Broncos plan to deploy the four-year Duck as a base-set outside ‘backer and an inside player in nickel packages, Klis writes. Hollins ran a 4.50-second 40-yard dash at the Combine, leading the team to see if he can be a solution to its problems covering tight ends in recent years.
  • Marshall and Vontaze Burfict will add veteran presences to the Raiders’ long-understaffed linebacking corps, and DC Paul Guenther said (via NBC Sports Bay Area’s Scott Bair) Burfict’s arrival will free him up to utilize more of his playbook than he did last season. Burfict’s issues will not lie with the former Bengals DC’s playbook but rather staying on the field, which has proved to be a persistent issue for the talented player in his six-year career.
  • Avery Williamson will slide to the Jets‘ weakside linebacker spot to accommodate C.J. Mosley, Brian Costello of the New York Post notes. The market-shattering free agent addition will become Gang Green’s defensive play-caller, though both are set to be three-down ‘backers in Gregg Williams‘ defense. In his previous Jets role, Williamson totaled a career-high 120 tackles and graded as Pro Football Focus’ No. 18 traditional linebacker last season.
  • The contract Ravens outside ‘backer Matt Judon will likely focus on most in terms of establishing his value is likely Za’Darius Smith‘s Packers deal, Jeff Zreibec of The Athletic writes (subscription required). Judon’s 19 sacks in three seasons are more than Smith’s 18.5-sack total in four, the the latter parlayed his impressive contract year into a four-year, $66MM deal. It is not yet known if the Ravens and Judon have begun extension discussions, but both he and third-year inside linebacker starter Patrick Onwuasor are due for 2020 free agency.