Raiders linebacker Vontaze Burfict is facing additional scrutiny for an unflagged hit on a second defenseless player in last Sunday’s game against the Colts.
This unflagged hit occurred during the second quarter, with 13 minutes and 24 seconds left until the half. While reviewing the game, the NFL discovered that at this time Burfict launched and blasted Colts’ RB Nyheim Hines away from the play.
Later came the hit on Colts’ TE Jack Doyle that got him ejected and suspended.
Even before this hit, the NFL could have credibly argued that the lengthy punishment was necessary in light of Burfict’s re-offender status and his reputation of being a dangerous player. With this additional evidence, however, it looks like Burfict’s year is definitely done.
Nevertheless, Lamont Smith, the linebacker’s agent, is insisting that Burfict’s season-long suspension stems from the league treating him differently than any other player. Smith explained that “it’s different when someone is trying to make a football play, not a deliberate act where someone is trying to hurt an opponent.” Smith then referenced the Albert Haynesworth incident (where Haynesworth received a five-game suspension for stepping on an opposing player’s head) and pointed out that “Haynesworth was trying to hurt someone and he [only] got five games.” Under this logic, Smith believes Burfict should not be suspended longer than five games.
Burfict’s fate will ultimately be in the hands of Hall of Fame linebacker Derrick Brooks— the neutral who was jointly appointed by the NFL and NFLPA to preside over the appeal. The hearing is set for this Tuesday (10/8).