Vontaze Burfict Reinstated: Did the NFL Make the Wrong Choice?


By G.Stryker

The NFL just reinstated Vontaze Burfict last week after serving a 12 game suspension for a late hit (targeting the head of Indianapolis Colts TE, Jack Doyle). Not only was Jack down by contact and not moving while he was resting on one knee, Vontaze left his feet to lunge himself, headfirst, into the side of Jack’s helmet. The play was an egregious late hit and an obvious intent to injure. Jack was lucky not to get a concussion on that play, and for that hit, Vontaze was immediately ejected for his actions. The hit was so dangerous that the NFL and NFLPA agreed he shouldn’t play anymore in 2019, and was suspended for the balance of the season, which is the longest suspension ever given for an on-field play.

I’m a bit obsessed with his behavior and have been keeping a spreadsheet on his violations. You can view it HERE. Vontaze’s most recent suspension was his 23rd game lost to dangerous play. With seven seasons under his belt, he is a game short of serving a year and a half of his career suspended. There are 26 documented infractions in the NFL, and 24 times in his football career where an infraction was an intent to injure another player. So what are you thinking, NFL? Maybe 27th time is the charm for this guy and he will finally learn his lesson and play by the rules? Sorry I’m not buying it.

Vontaze has lost games with intent an to injure in three of the past four seasons played. In 2016, he decapitated Antonio Brown and kneed Ben Roethilsberger in the shoulder when he was prone on the ground. Both players came off the field (though Ben did return for the game-winning drive after missing a series with his injured shoulder). In 2017, Vontaze was suspended for a preseason hit on FB Anthony Sherman of the Kansas City Chiefs. His 5-game suspension was reduced to 3 on appeal. In 2018, he targeted James Conner, AB, and Big Ben in the same game racking up $112K in fines for ONE GAME! No suspension for this game surprisingly, but he didn’t learn and made his worst hit ever in 2019 (which we already discussed).

I don’t think there is a question that Burfict is a talented player, heavy hitter, and game changer. His first round draft status turned him into an undrafted pickup by the Cincinnati Bengals when he failed a drug test at the NFL Combine. Since entering the league, he’s tried to roll to injure ankles, hit defenseless players after the whistle, pushed referees, landed on players late out of bounds, stepped on body parts, grabbed a groin, failed drug tests, and fought players as well as teammates. The problem isn’t his talent, the problem is his inability to control his emotions, especially in game situations when emotions run hot. He just seems to snap if he feels he or a teammate is being wronged.  

There is nothing I’ve seen from his past infractions, that show me he is ever going to change. He’s going to say the right things, prepare by trying to change the way he tackles, but when it comes down to the first guy hitting him late, he’s going to retaliate. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks, and Vontaze will be entering his 8th season as a seasoned, grizzly veteran. As his reaction times and speed start to slow down, his temper and inability to check it should increase. Just following the trend of his career, the only way he is going to stop injuring players is if he is out of the league for life.  

27 documented infractions, and he gets yet another chance? In my opinion, the NFL and NFLPA are liable if he injures another NFL player. The NFL understands his track record, and are still allowing a dangerous player back on the field. The next person injured by him should be able to sue the league for not taking player safety seriously. And honestly, that’s the only way I can see Vontaze Burfict’s career ending. By being suspended for injuring yet another football player.


Do you think Vontaze Burfict should ever play football again? Let us know in the comments below.


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One Comment

  1. Kimberly Rowles

    March 1, 2020 at 11:17 am

    He should never have the privilege of playing the game again.

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