Is this a real life Grinch story? Did Vontaze Burfict’s heart grow three sizes? Probably not. But Burfict did personally apologize to Antonio Brown during the offseason.
ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler has the interesting nugget. He writes that the two were in Miami during the offseason, intentionally or not it’s not made clear, when Burfict said he was sorry after slamming Brown in the head during the AFC Wild Card game.
It cost the Bengals a win but it cost Brown the next week against the Denver Broncos. He sat out with a concussion and the Steelers went on to lose by the narrowest of margins.
Brown told Fowler he has “no issue” with Burfict but certainly seemed like he was keeping his distance from him too, saying that everything was “all business” going forward.
Burfict was suspended for the first three games of this season for the hit on Brown, a long list of questionable actions that have made his wallet much, much lighter. He’s been in the news this year for, let’s call them controversial, hits and post-whistle actions on Martellus Bennett and LeGarrette Blount. Burfict was fined $75,000 for stepping on Blount. He was also tagged with a $12,000 penalty for flipping off fans in a loss to the Buffalo Bills.
Other actions that induced fines in his career include: striking a player in the groin, hitting a defenseless receiver, spearing, ankle-twisting, and another late hit. Fun times.
This will be the Steelers first meeting against Burfict this season. He sat out the Week 2 matchup, probably intentional by the NFL, with that suspension.
Mike Tomlin did not show much concern over the history of bad blood between the two teams at today’s press conference, putting the focus on winning the game itself.
But Burfict is back. So is Wallace Gilberry. And Adam Jones just went on a locker room tirade against Terrelle Pryor this weekend. So who knows what the heck is going to happen.