Vontaze Burfict reportedly won't be banned, Marvin Lewis says 'he knows better'
The mercurial Bengals linebacker was thrown out of Sunday's game but reportedly won't be suspended
Vontaze Burfict's reputation precedes him. And for that reason there is no benefit of the doubt when he finds himself in the all-to-familiar position of a borderline hit that invariably ends with a 15-yard penalty.
This is what happened Sunday in Tennessee. First, Burfict grazed DeMarco Murray about three steps out of bounds, Murray went down and the flags came out:
Two plays later, Burfict was ejected for contacting an official:
Any other player on the planet and there is no flag, no ejection, no story. But this is Burfict, a talented player who consistently fails to get out of his own way. The linebacker didn't talk to reporters after the game -- the Bengals lost, falling to 3-6 on the season -- but coach Marvin Lewis did, left to explain why one of his best players can't stay out of trouble.
"He has to understand. I've pointed it out in those situations," Lewis said, via the team's official website. "Sometimes what happens, you push back and it's the official. You can't do that. He knows better. We pay a price, we pay a price because he hurts us when it's on the field that way, and then he's not on the field, so both ways."
"I think he's getting targeted a lot," Green said of Burfict drawing the attention of officials. "On some of those plays I don't think anybody else would make it. They wouldn't get that call. I think he just has a target on his back. That's the way he is. He's an emotional guy. That's the guy we want. I wouldn't trade him for anybody in the world."
Of course, other players don't have Burfict's rap sheet, either. The offenses include:
- He once went head hunting in a playoff game and concussed Steelers receiver Antonio Brown. Burfict was suspended for the first three games of the 2016 season.
- He's been accused of cheap shots to Ravens tight end Maxx Williams, Patriots tight end Martellus Bennett, now-Eagles running back LeGarrette Blount, and Steelers running back Le'Veon Bell.
- He missed the first three games of the 2017 season for his illegal hit on Chiefs fullback Anthony Sherman during a preseason game.
- He appeared to kick at a Steelers player last month but wasn't suspended.
And it looks like Burfict will avoid suspension this time too, according to NFL.com's Ian Rapoport, which means he can play next Sunday when the Bengals face the Broncos.
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