Burfict given longest ban in NFL history for brutal hit

Luke Bradshaw
Sports Writer

Oakland Raiders’ Vontaze Burfict has been suspended for the remainder of the season after a helmet-to-helmet hit on Indianapolis Colts tight-end Jack Doyle.

His minimum 12-game ban is the longest in NFL history for an on-field transgression. It could end up being even longer if the Raiders make the play-offs.

There have been players that have served longer bans, but these have been for drug offenses, gambling and serious crimes away from games such as domestic violence and manslaughter.

Although player safety has become paramount in the NFL, and it is trying to cut down on any challenges that have the potential to injure the head, there is a chance that his suspension could be reduced.

As bad a hit as it was, it’s difficult to imagine that Burfict’s record of ill-discipline hasn’t played a factor. He has a reputation as the dirtiest player in the NFL, and it’s justified. This is simply the latest in a catalogue of troubling incidents.

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The linebacker has received multiple suspensions for a variety of incidents over his seven-year career in the NFL. In total, he’s missed 22 games through suspension, which equates to nearly a fifth of his entire career. It’s come at a financial cost, too – over $5 million has been spent of either giving up salary or league fines.

Burfict was projected to be a first-round pick in the 2012 NFL draft given his talent at Arizona State, but his lack of discipline on and off the field put teams off and he went undrafted.

He was eventually taken by the Cincinnati Bengals where he became a Pro Bowler, but was released this summer after seven seasons with the franchise. In March of this year, Burfict signed a one-year, $5 million contract with the Raiders.

Burfict’s Timeline:

September 2013: Strikes an opponent in the groin and fined $10,000. Then fined a further $21,000 for hitting a defenseless receiver.

October 2013: Spear tackles a receiver, fined $21,000

October 2014: Twists the ankles after plays of Cam Newton and Greg Olsen in a game against the Carolina Panthers. Fined $25,000

December 2015: In a match against the Pittsburgh Steelers he dives at the knee of Ben Roethlisberger, on top of two unnecessary roughness penalties against the same player. Fined $69,000

January 2016: Hits a defenseless receiver in the face. Fined $50,000

January 2016: Helmet to helmet knocks out Antonio Brown, is fined $500,000 and is suspended for three games.

October 2016: Fined $75,000 for standing on New England’s LeGarrette Blount.

November 2016: Gives the middle finger to Buffalo Bills fans and is fined $12,000

August 2017: Hit a defenseless player and is suspended for three games, later reduced to three.

October 2017: Kicks an opponent and is fined $12,000.

March 2018: Violates the NFL’s substance abuse policy by taking performance-enhancing drugs and is suspended for four games.

October 2018: Penalised for multiple incidents of unnecessary roughness in a single game against the Steeler, is fined $112,000

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