The Oakland Raiders may have just been dealt a blow just as bad as the loss of Johnathan Abram. While the Raiders were in the middle of getting blown out by the Kansas City Chiefs, starting linebacker Vontaze Burfict hurt his ankle in the third quarter. The injury came when Burfict was making a tackle on the sideline and seemed to have collided with someone on the sideline.
The Oakland defense has been getting lit up by quarterback Patrick Mahones so the loss of Burfict could mean really bad things. He was named a captain before the season and is supposed to be a big part of the defense. He looked to be limping pretty badly on the sideline. His injury is one to keep an eye on.
Burfict is a former pro-bowl and all-pro player. He’s very familiar with defensive Paul Guenther’s defense and that has made him fit in with the team seamlessly. Even when Guenther first left Cincinnati for the Raiders, Burfict saw himself reuniting with his coach.
“I’m going to be there with you one day,” said Burfict to Guenther when it was revealed he was leaving to Oakland. “When the Bengals let me go, [Guenther] was the first coach to call me and I said, ‘hey, I’m on the way.’ Happy to be here.”
UPDATE: It looks like Burfict has returned to the game.
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His return is a promising sign. The Raiders are very lean on the linebacker depth chart and losing Burfict would be really bad. He’s only on a one-year contract, so if he wants to get a longer one, he needs to be on the field. Obviously, injuries are out of his control, but it’s a situation to monitor considering his injury history.
Based on his play, it looks like his ankle may still be bugging him. Hopefully, it’s not similar to the Johnathan Abram situation. The rookie was hurt in the first half of the game versus the Denver Broncos but still finished up the game. It was then revealed a couple of days later that he’d be missing the season with a torn rotator cuff. Burfict’s status should be monitored throughout the week.
Burfict has made some bad headlines in his career since he entered the league in 2012 but hasn’t done anything to give the Raiders a headache. The former undrafted rookie was a starter for the Bengals during his tenure, but he missed a lot of time. Some of it was because of injury, but a lot of his time missed was due to the many “dirty” plays he committed against opposing teams. He’s been fined or suspended on 12 different occasions. When the 2019 season ended, Burfict was cut loose by the Bengals. However, his old defensive coordinator, Guenther, was ready to welcome him to Oakland with open arms.
He’s now a captain with the team and will be the leader of the defense as long as he remains happy.