Vontaze Burfict being singled out by NFL with season-long suspension, Raiders linebacker's agent says
The NFL singled out Vontaze Burfict for his unprecedented season-long suspension over a helmet-to-helmet hit to an Indianapolis Colts receiver last week, the Oakland Raiders linebacker’s agent said.
Burfict’s agent Lamont Smith’s comments to NFL.com on Sunday came after the player was informed of a second helmet-to-helmet hit he committed in the game against the Colts. The other hit was against Colts running back Nyheim Hines, which came before the hit on tight end Jack Doyle.
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“Hmmmm... I wonder how many other players they've done that for in the last two or three years," Smith told NFL.com.
Burfict received the season-long suspension last week and has filed an appeal. The appeal is expected to be heard Tuesday. NFL.com reported that Burfict will say he was trying to make a “football play” and that he wasn’t trying to injure Doyle. Still, the news of a second helmet-to-helmet hit may hurt his appeal chances.
In issuing the suspension, Jon Runyan, NFL vice president of football operations, said in a letter that Burfict’s circumstances were much different than other players.
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“There were no mitigating circumstances on this play,” Runyan wrote in a letter to Burfict. “Your contact was unnecessary, flagrant and should have been avoided. For your actions, you were penalized and disqualified from the game.
“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 designated to protect yourself and your opponents from unnecessary risk.
“Your extensive history of rules violations is factored into this decision regarding accountability measures.”
The veteran has racked up more than $4 million in fines and has been suspended 10 times due to the apparent headhunting on the field. The penalties came when he was with the Cincinnati Bengals.
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The Raiders signed Burfict to a one-year, $2 million contract in the offseason. It included a $300,000 signing bonus and $300,000 in guaranteed money, according to Spotrac.