Perhaps I should be concerned by the fact that I am beginning to enjoy writing about the follies of Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict. It is not an instinct that is natural to me; and certainly, I would not relish an injury, should he suffer one. He has dealt with serious injuries in the past, in fact.
But Burfict is a player who seems to need to be disciplined in order to understand how to behave. Right now, he is facing potential further discipline for yet another disciplined action that he took during yesterday’s game—you guessed it, another loss—to the Titans.
Similar to Marshawn Lynch earlier this season, Burfict was ejected from the game after he made contact with an official. In this instance, the official had his arm out in front of him, initially to restrain the player, and then to make a signal, bur the linebacker brushed his arm away.
The official then threw the flag—as, by the rules, is called for—and Burfict was ejected from the game. Earlier, he was also flagged for a late hit on a runner that was already out of bounds, making contact with the ball carrier with a trailing forearm to the helmet.
As he was exiting the field following his ejection, the controversial figure was seen calling upon yet another, in this case former Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel and his ‘money’ gesture, motioning by rubbing his thumbs against his forefingers. The gesture in this instance doesn’t appear to make sense, unless he is indicating the very real likelihood that he is about to lose a lot of money. Again.
According to Pro Football Talk, via “a source”, Burfict’s discipline will not end with the ejection from the game, as it did for A.J. Green earlier this year.
“All things will be considered when the time comes to determine discipline”, Mike Florio writes, emphasizing “the action, the context, and Burfict’s history of infractions”.
That “history of infractions” already includes a three-game suspension served for an illegal hit on a defenseless receiver during the preseason. He also drew a fine for kicking at the head of Pittsburgh Steelers fullback Roosevelt Nix a few games ago. And that also includes the personal foul for a late hit in this same game.
It would not be surprising at all if Burfict is suspended again, if even for a game, for his actions. He has already racked up three additional finable instances since his previous suspension, including the two aforementioned, and a roughing the passer penalty in his first game back from suspension against the Browns.
As great a player he might be on the field, I still find it striking that the Bengals elected him as a team captain this year, as he epitomizes the lack of discipline that has seen them spiral back into irrelevance over the course of the past two seasons. He desperately needs to change his behavior.