Vontaze Burfict

USA Today

The Raiders Have Added Vont

Vontaze Burfict and Antonio Brown are teammates.

March 20, 2019 - 10:44 am
Categories: 

The Oakland Raiders added Vontaze Burfict. Of course they did. Vontaze Burfict is a Raider.

Because when you have the chance to add a player who has too many fines and suspensions to count, you definitely jump on that immediately. And the only thing better than signing a player with Burfict’s track record is signing a player with Burfict’s track record and history with Antonio Brown. Outstanding.

I’m not going to say that signing Burfict is a bad look for the Raiders because of his history with Brown. I’m sure they can patch it up. As Burfict said: "We're on the same team. It's one goal. It's all positive, man. He's a great player. ... I'm going to approach him just like I do all my other teammates. ... There's nothing negative here. We're on the same team. We're trying to win a championship here. Honestly, we might be the closest friends on the team, you know what I mean? So, just got to go along with it, and I can't wait to meet him."

I mean, there’s a lot to unpack in that quote, like the fact that I love the guy who ended Brown’s 2015 postseason with a helmet to helmet hit, saying it’s all positive.

I love that about as much as I love Burfict’s claim from back in the day that Brown “faked” a concussion on the play. Because that’s something guys routinely do, just fake concussions after helmet-to-helmet hits.

Or that he chased that last year with a shot that Brown called a “nasty hit” and was coupled with a hit on James Conner that resulted in $112 grand in fines from a single game.

Oh, and in that game, one play after Burfict hit Brown in the head, he reportedly threatened juju Smith-Schuster by, according to Ben Roethlisberger, yelling “you’re next!” So that’s awesome. 

And I love that Burfict is the one saying that things are good between he and Brown. Right, because that’s your call to make. Brown did tweet: Just talked @King55Tez black and silver baby #raidernation #bullyseason

Okay, I guess. If it’s good with Antonio Brown, it’s good with me.  

Knowing that, and knowing that people change, I’m not going to say that it’s weird that Burfict and Rbown Brown are teammates.

Just like I’m not going to say it’s weird that Raiders GM Mike Mayock referred to Burfict as “non-draftable” in 2012. That when he was working as a draft analyst, he said “I watched three tapes and really didn’t like him as a football player. . . . I think he’s a non-draftable kid.” And now he plays for Mayock.

Nor am I going to say that it’s strange that the Raiders just signed a guy who had 33 tackles in seven games last year. And who only played seven games last year because he missed the first four for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.

But I will say this: it is kind of weird that the team was falling all over itself to sign a guy who isn’t just dirty, he’s unreliable. Actually, check that, he’s very reliable. You can’t count on him to be on the field, but you can count on him to get suspended or fined on a regular basis when he is.   You can set your watch to that.

Vontaze Burfict getting fined and suspended is about as guaranteed as the sun rising and setting.

When you sign a contract with Vontaze Burfict, do you also start looking at the schedule to see which games he’s going to miss due to disciplinary action? Because you should.

Availability is the best ability and getting suspended for head hunting is doesn’t make you very available.

Let me run a quick list of names at you:

Antonio Brown

Martellus Bennett

Cam Newton

Greg Olsen

LeGarrette Blount

Roosevelt Nix

Maxx Williams

Anthony Sherman

That’s not a football team’s roster. That’s the list of guys who Burfict has cheapshotted. And it was compiled by my CBS colleague Ryan Wilson. And that might be just a partial list. Because the list of guys that Burfict has cheapshotted is so long, a media outlet would practically have to dedicate one person to just cover all his dirty plays.

It’s amazing. You know the guy has a track record, but when you sit down to compile it, there isn’t enough time. There are helmet-to-helmets, shots on defenseless receivers, kicks to the head, ankle twists after a tackle, dirty plays, and more.

I am always careful to call out guys for being dirty. That’s a label I don’t throw around lightly. Because once you ring that bell, you can’t un-ring it.

But Vontaze Burfict is the epitome of a dirty player. Better yet, is there a dirtier player in the league? Seriously. Is there one? Because if there is, he doesn’t come to mind.

What Vontez does isn’t old-school, throwback, hard-nosed football. It’s dirty. It’s cheap. And it’s the kind of thing I thought we were trying to get rid of in the league, not add more of. He can’t help himself. He gets fined or gets suspended and then immediately comes back and does it again.

He’s a threat to everyone on the football field, including himself. 

But don’t take my word for it, take Joe Thomas who said last year that Burfict should be suspended for his hit on Brown. 

Or Donte Stallworth, who tweeted last year: I’m very reluctant to call a player dirty. IMO, for one to earn that label, it must be blatant that you are *intentionally trying to injure other players with dirty play. With that said: Vontaze Burfict is a dirty player.

Forget why are you signing this player, why is he allowed in the league? His highlights are essentially the video the league sends to teams in preseason about what is not allowed. If the goal is to make the league safer, it is a safer league without Vontaze Burfict. His presence is horrible for player safety.

If your goal is to make your team better, your team is probably better without Burfict. What he can do on the field is limited by the fact that he can’t stay on the field. It would seem that Burfict can’t help himself from playing dirty. No matter how much discipline he faces, he’s right back to doing it. He can’t stop himself and the Raiders couldn’t stop themselves from signing him. So what does that say about them?