The Raiders are going to be upset about the suspension that cost them middle linebacker Vontaze Burfict, and that’s their prerogative.
He’s their teammate, seems to be well liked, and no one questions Burfict’s football acumen or preparation. Defensive coordinator Paul Guenther, who was with the Cincinnati Bengals, has seen almost every infraction Burfict ever committed and swears by the guy. Fellow linebacker Tahir Whitehead took to Twitter with a partly profane reaction when the 12-game suspension was initially reported.
But Burfict remains stuck in a 1960s time warp, unable to control himself from the kind of play that used to be popular back in the day but is gradually being legislated out of the NFL. Burfict cannot be depended upon to play within the rules and stay on the field for his team.
It’s similar to the gamble the Raiders took on wide receiver Antonio Brown and guard Richie Incognito, two other players with checkered pasts. Brown was a disaster that cost the Raiders two draft picks. Incognito was suspended for the first two games — something the Raiders were anticipating.
It’s been a two-tier system of personnel as executed by coach Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock. When taking college players, look for high character to go along with a skill set. For veterans, as Mayock said after the Incognito signing, not everyone is going to be a Boy Scout.
Similar to Brown, the Raiders knew what they were getting when they signed Burfict. They surely considered the possibility something like this could happen. Not many players change their ways all of a sudden as they approach or surpass 30 years old. They are what they are.
And given Burfict’s extensive track record, there is no reason to think he was suddenly going to learn to pull his punches as well as his propensity for helmet-to-helmet hits. Cameras caught Burfict throwing a few end-of-tackle rabbit punches in the Raiders’ Week 3 loss to Minnesota, and the NFL wasted no time in issuing the suspension the day after his hit on Indianapolis tight end Jack Doyle.
Keep in mind that discipline is being enforced by former players. NFL vice president of operations Jon Runyan, who sent the letter to Burfict informing him of the suspension, played in the NFL from 1996 through 2009. Hearing Burfict’s appeal will be either Hall of Fame linebacker Derek Brooks or James Thrash, also both former players.
Time to start talking about a long-term ban for Vontaze Burfict (sound on). pic.twitter.com/oMYegAzYyc
— Robert Klemko (@RobertKlemko) September 29, 2019
It’s not that difficult to find hits like the kind Burfict delivered upon Doyle from other players around the league. None of them has such a string of fines and suspensions, however. It was up to Burfict to curb those impulses and he simply couldn’t or wouldn’t comply, and in so doing will lose some $4 million in salary as well as let down teammates that depended on him as the defensive signal caller.
When Burfict signed with the Raiders on March 19, …read more
Source:: The Mercury News – Sports