The NFL is done with Vontaze Burfict playing outside the rules.
The league announced Monday it has suspended the Raiders linebacker for the rest of the 2019 season for his helmet-to-helmet hit on Colts tight end Jack Doyle during Sunday’s game.
Burfict, 29, has a long history of illegal hits that have led to fines and suspensions. He reportedly racked up $165,000 in fines last season alone.
“There were no mitigating circumstances on this play,” NFL vice president of football operations Jon Runyan wrote in a letter to Burfict. “Your contact was unnecessary, flagrant and should have been avoided. … Following each of your previous rule violations, you were warned by me and each of the jointly appointed appeal officers that future violations would result in escalated accountability measures. However, you have continued to flagrantly abuse rules designed to protect yourself and opponents from unnecessary risk.”
Burfict can appeal the decision within three business days, and NFL Media reported Burfict’s agent plans to do just that. Derrick Brooks or James Thrash will hear Burfict’s appeal, and NFL Media notes both former players have a history in that chair — Thrash previously reduced a Burfict suspension from five games to three in 2017 after Brooks upheld a three-game suspension in 2016.
If the season-long ban is upheld, Burfict will have been suspended for a total of 22 games in his career. Those absences and additional fines incurred will have cost him more than $5 million in salary, according to ESPN.
The Raiders (2-2) are next slated to take on the Bears (3-1) in London in Week 5.