The Bengals’ defense may have looked good in Week 3. But, the bad news on the horizon could be Vontaze Burfict’s suspension.
This is a joke, right? When I last checked in on the Cincinnati Bengals, the first teamers were looking good in Washington. I laughed as Vontaze Burfict had a beautiful pick-6 and danced in the stands. Did my research on the game as I watched, thought about how good the Bengals defense was looking and posted a story. Later, Sunday night, thought about what fans would want to read. I thanked the football gods for helping Burfict get in great shape for the season. Bed time.
When the news of a potential Burfict suspension smacked me in the mouth, my first thought was “for what?” Eventually, the gifs and videos of Burfict leveling a “defenseless” player made their way to my phone.
This is a joke, right?
I remember at one time wanting to take some courses at the Ray Combs Comedy Club. When I saw the headlines referring to the Bengals’ weak side linebacker (WILL), my mind was in a tizzy. What in the world had Burfict done to anger the powers that be in the NFL? The league lowered the hammer on Burfict when they fined him over $800K for various infractions. But, since then, Vontaze has been the model citizen.
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No. There is not a man crush for Burfict in my medicine cabinet or man cave. But, I do have the utmost respect for his ability to play like a throwback in today’s NFL. There have been too many rules changes and the current version of America’s true pastime looks like pit bulls in tutus. If a defender looks at an offensive player wrong, he could face time in Sing Sing.
Overboard…Over The Top?
Well, maybe the prison jab is a bit much. But, so is the five-game suspension that the NFL is tossing at Burfict. There are times when it seems Tez is being labeled not for his abilities as a Pro Bowl defender but for the mistakes that he’s made. I’m not going to sweep his past under a pristine rug. Yet, this current suspension seems to be based more on his reputation than on what he’s done.
Burfict recently told Bengals.com what he expects from his appeal process on Tuesday.
"“I’m crossing my fingers and hoping for the best. I feel like I’ve let down my teammates, but I also feel like I’ve done a good job with this. I only had one personal foul last year. We feel like this was a legal hit. I hit him in the shoulder. I hit hard. So, it may have looked like I hit him in the head, but it was the shoulder. I helped him up and he said he was good and I asked if he was good on the next series and he said, ‘Yeah, that was a legal hit.’”"
It’s a small, small world when a defender doesn’t go ballistic after a “deadly” hit that could end his career. Oh, wait. We talkin’ about Vontaze Burfict. Maybe Chiefs fullback Anthony Sherman was afraid to complain about the hit. Could there be a gag order on Sherman? Nah. I’m going over the top. But, so is the NFL. This reeks of making an example of Tez.
The National Football League seems to be searching for something. One moment, the league is all gooey gumdrops and ready to let players have fun in the end zone. Celebrations are coming back to a stadium near you. On the other hand, give a player a good, hard thump and it’s back to the same old thing.
Let’s not get it twisted. The current version of the NFL is a landscape of monstrous men who are fast, beefy and trained to knock your head off your shoulders. But, where does the line get drawn? When do fans get to see the hard hits that made the league what it is today? Maybe each rule change is designed to give and take at the same time. If you get some fun, there has to be a corresponding punishment.
Whatever the case, Tuesday will let fans see what the real deal is, going forward. Once again. Burfict is not an innocent linebacker. He’s far from it. However, this just doesn’t feel right. Maybe he shouldn’t have celebrated after that pick-6.