The imperfections of Vontaze Burfict overshadow just how irreplaceable he is to the Bengals defense. Maybe that’s why Bengals management risks their reputation to keep him around.
An ImBurfict Timeline
Before gaining the well-deserved reputation of being the NFL’s dirtiest player, Vontaze Burfict was a dirty College player. His talent was never in question and was named a Preseason All-American as a Sophomore in 2010. Yet, in that same season was benched for an excessive amount of Personal Foul penalties. Just as telling as the benching is the fact that he still led his team in tackles and was named a postseason All-American. Herein lies the broken paradigm of Vontaze Burfict. On one hand, an extremely talented player and on the other an extremely volatile teammate.
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The next year at Arizona State Burfict both punched a teammate and regressed in his number of overall tackles. Even so, he declared for the NFL Draft and proceeded to give horrible interviews during the Draft process and fail a pre-Draft drug test. Scouts and Coaches agreed across the board that he could not be trusted or drafted. Eventually, Marvin Lewis signed Burfict via the Supplemental Draft. Since his arrival in 2012, he has been fined more than any other player in the NFL. During that time frame, Burfict has been accused of attempting to injure opponents while nearly decapitating Antonio Brown last year and diving at the knee of Martellus Bennett last week.
It could be argued that Vontaze is everything you want in a Linebacker: strong, mean, intense and unafraid. His talent cannot be overlooked no matter how large his failures loom.