Without much fanfare, the National Football League reinstated former Cincinnati Bengals and Las Vegas Raiders football player Vontaze Burfict, and it was the right thing to do.
Former Bengals player Vontaze Burfict is back, almost, in the National Football League. Love him or hate him, he’s a player who elicits all kinds of reactions, both good and bad. In Oakland, the 2019 Raiders rolled the dice on the highly volatile, often maligned defensive back. As is usual, teammates loved him, and a highly critical NFL media did not.
Now, the next bit of news will be who takes a chance on him. He will be a free agent, and the criticism he is sure to invite could keep teams from bringing him in much less signing him to a deal. That’s unfortunate, as Burfict is that perfect combination of fury and determination.
Burfict, who essentially wore out his welcome and was used as an example of by head coach Zac Taylor, will be looking for a job in 2020. The Bengals, looking for an identity, any identity, that steps away from seasons of losing, aren’t an organization who would have an interest in Burfict, but under better circumstances, they should. Marvin Lewis, who compares him to Ray Lewis, has spent a lot of time vouching for the malcontent.
"“We spent a lot of time. I studied thousands of plays and coached him on it every day because it’s changed. And he has the perfect build that when he hits you, it’s like getting hit by a cement truck. There is no stop. It’s all go. He’s just built perfectly that way.”"
The NFL has always been about second chances, but finding one for Burfict might be difficult. Like Antonio Brown, he’s a player who has a reputation that precedes him, and it’s not a good one. How any team rationalizes the upside would be something to see.
The Las Vegas Raiders were always that last team. The one on the way out the door permanently. For Burfict, that may hold true, and ultimately, be the last stop out the door for good.