The NFL doesn’t look like it’s going to cut Vontaze Burfict any slack. The argument can be made that Burfict’s problems are self-inflicted, but the argument could also be made that he didn’t deserve to be suspended for the whole season based on his hit on Jack Doyle. The Oakland Raiders linebacker is certainly no stranger to getting suspended or fined, but this is the stiffest penalty yet. He plans to appeal the NFL’s decision, however, it might not go in his favor.
It was reported by Ian Rapoport that the NFL had obtained an example of another helmet-to-helmet hit that the referees didn’t see during the game. ESPN’s Adam Schefter obtained a video of the hit.
That certainly will not help his case especially considering there’s a video of him punching Vikings players during Week 3’s loss. It looks like Burfict’s year is done. If he had a cleaner track record, they wouldn’t have given him such a stiff penalty, but unfortunately, he is who he is.
Will the Raiders Bring Back Burfict if His Suspension Holds up?
If Burfict misses the rest of the season, it brings up an interesting dilemma for the Raiders. He’s only on a one-year contract, so there’s nothing tying him to the team past 2019. Yes, Burfict and defensive coordinator Paul Guenther are very close, but the coach will have very little pull in the organization if the defense continues to struggle. If Jon Gruden doesn’t want to deal with potentially losing a team captain just one quarter into the season in 2020, he’s not going to bring back Burfict.
Burfict is still just 29 years old and could have some juice left in the tank. His teammates love him and rushed to his defense after the suspension was handed down. While Burfict may have upside, the Raiders need to accept the inevitable and finally use a high draft pick on a middle linebacker. The position has been a revolving door of washed-up veterans and it’s time to inject some youth. If Oakland was able to know for sure that Burfict was going to stay out of trouble in 2020, then they should probably ride with him. The problem is, it seems very unlikely that will happen.
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Vontaze Burfict’s Appeal Will Be Heard on Tuesday
The Raiders and Burfict shouldn’t have to wait long to know his fate as he’s scheduled to appeal the NFL’s decision on Tuesday, per Josina Anderson.
Nobody should get their hopes up as the NFL clearly is coming to this meeting with the intention of holding up their ruling. If it wasn’t for the second video, Burfict may have had a chance to get the suspension reduced by a few games. However, Burfict has very little leverage here. His argument could be that a suspension like this is unprecedented and could point to worse hits not receiving punishments. Regardless, the veteran linebacker could have a hard time finding a job after this latest incident.