The NFL has come down about as hard as it possibly could on Oakland Raiders linebacker Vontaze Burfict.
Burfict has been suspended for the remainder of the 2019 season after his headshot on Colts tight end Jack Doyle. In a statement announcing the suspension, NFL vice president of football operations Jon Runyan said there were “no mitigating circumstances” involved in the play, and added that Burfict had been repeatedly warned of escalating consequences after previous incidents. The statement concludes by accusing Burfict of continuing to “flagrantly abuse rules” meant to keep him and his fellow players safe.
Vontaze Burfict suspended for remainder of 2019 season for violations of unnecessary roughness rules. pic.twitter.com/oSMl2iSRNW
— Michael Signora (@NFLfootballinfo) September 30, 2019
Vontaze Burfict will appeal, per his agent Lamont Smith. Traditionally, the hearings have been on Tuesdays. https://t.co/YtuoSZqWA3
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 30, 2019
Speaking after the game on Sunday, veteran Raiders coach John Gruden said the hit warranted a penalty.
“It’s a tough decision, it’s a tough call. I think it was a flag,” he said.
“It was very well-documented that the league was going to review those plays this year in New York City. So, that’s what happened and I’ll wait to hear what their reasoning was. But it was a penalty, he went in there with his head down, it was called and, unfortunately for us, it was an ejection.”
Burfict had traveled to London with the Raiders for this coming weekend’s game against the Chicago Bears, but will now be sent back to the United States, where he is expected to appeal the length of the suspension.