After his player somehow avoided a serious injury after enduring a brutal helmet-to-helmet hit from Raiders linebacker Vontaze Burfict, Colts coach Frank Reich is satisfied with the way the NFL went about disciplining Burfict -- a player who has a long and unfortunate history of dirty hits, the latest of which came at Colts tight end Jack Doyle's expense.
After getting immediately ejected from Sunday's game, that he will appeal. Later on Monday, Reich expressed his approval of the league's decisions -- both to eject and suspend Burfict., a decision
"That was a pretty vicious hit," Reich said, per the Indianapolis Star. "Thankfully (Doyle) came out of that one clean with no (concussion) symptoms.
"When someone does something like that, attacks one of your players, that's just not supposed to be in the game. And when it's against one of your players, you naturally have a reaction. I'm just glad they did what they did at the game and the follow-up action seems very appropriate."
It's difficult to argue with Reich's assessment. As previously mentioned, this isn't the first time Burfict has been accused of intentionally endangering other players, which has led to numerous fines and suspensions. You can see the full list of noteworthy incidents below, as compiled by Hall-of-Fame talent evaluator Gil Brandt.
Vontaze Burfict has been fined more than $400,000 and suspended 18 games (not counting four for PEDs last year) since entering NFL as UDFA in 2012. The list:— Gil Brandt (@Gil_Brandt) September 30, 2019
2013: Fined $31,000 for hitting Packers TE Ryan Taylor in groin and WR James Jones as defenseless receiver
2013: Fined $7,875 for errant facemask on Bills RB Fred Jackson— Gil Brandt (@Gil_Brandt) September 30, 2019
2013: Fined $21,000 for spearing Jets WR Stephen Hill
2014: Fined $25,000 for twisting ankles of Panthers QB Cam Newton and TE Greg Olsen
2015: Fined $69,450 for three separate unsportsmanlike penalties vs. Steelers— Gil Brandt (@Gil_Brandt) September 30, 2019
2016: Fined $12,154 for unsportsmanlike conduct for hit on Bills WR Robert Woods
2016: Fined $75,000 for stomping on LeGarrette Blount's leg
2016: Concussed Antonio Brown with a headshot, suspended three games for repeated safety violations— Gil Brandt (@Gil_Brandt) September 30, 2019
2017: Suspended three games for errant hit on Chiefs FB Anthony Sherman
2017: Fined $12,154 for kicking Steelers FB Roosevelt Nix
2018: Fined $112,000 for hit to head area of Steelers RB James Conner and WR Antonio Brown— Gil Brandt (@Gil_Brandt) September 30, 2019
2018: Fined $53,482 for lowering helmet against Broncos FB Andy Janovich
2019: Suspended for rest of season for repeated safety violations after head-to-head hit on Colts TE Jack Doyle
In a letter to Burfict, NFL vice president of football operations Jon Runyan wrote, "There were no mitigating circumstances on this play. Your contact was unnecessary, flagrant and should have been avoided. For your actions, you were penalized and disqualified from the game. Following each of your previous rule violations, you were warned by me and each of the jointly-appointed appeal officers that further violations would result in escalated accountability measures. However, you have continued to flagrantly abuse rules designated to protect yourself and your opponents from unnecessary risk."
Reich wasn't the only figure around the league that approved of the NFL's decision. Patriots tight end Benjamin Watson, who is about to begin his 15th NFL season after , wrote on Twitter, "Better late than never."
Burfict's inability to remain eligible -- which again has been mostly of his own doing -- has sidetracked what was once a promising career. The long-time Bengals linebacker made his first Pro Bowl in 2013, his second season in the NFL, after erupting for 177 combined tackles. But since that season, he's only played in 47 of 84 possible games.