NFL suspends Vontaze Burfict for the remainder of the season

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The announcement from the league was made Monday, one day after Burfict’s ejection for his helmet-to-helmet hit to Indianapolis Colts tight end Jack Doyle in the second quarter. When he left the field, Burfict blew kisses to the Indianapolis crowd at Lucas Oil Stadium. The Raiders would go on to defeat the Colts 31-24.

It is the longest punishment for an on-field act in NFL history, according to NFL.com. Burfict, 29, has three business days to file an appeal. CNN has reached out to the NFL Players Association for comment.

About suspends

NFL suspends Vontaze Burfict for the rest of the season

About Vontaze
Vontaze DeLeon Burfict Jr. ( VON-tez BUR-fikt; born September 24, 1990) is an American football linebacker for the Oakland Raiders of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Arizona State. Considered the most highly ranked football prospect Arizona State ever signed to a letter of intent, Burfict was recognized as an All-American in 2010 and projected an early first round pick for the 2012 NFL Draft. However, a mediocre on-field performance and poor pre-draft workouts diminished his draft stock and he ultimately went unselected. He was subsequently signed by the Cincinnati Bengals as an undrafted free agent in 2012, where he played for seven seasons.
Burfict had a productive rookie season, starting 14 games and leading the team in tackles and later earned Pro Bowl honors in 2013. Despite his production, Burfict has incited controversy throughout his career for his involvement in multiple incidents and has accumulated over $5.3 million in fines and forfeited salary.

Jon Runyan, the NFL’s vice president of football operations, issued the suspension for a violation of Rule 12, Section 2, Article 10, which states: “It is a foul if a player lowers his head to initiate and make contact with his helmet against an opponent.”

“There were no mitigating circumstances on this play,” Runyan wrote in his letter to Burfict. “Your contact was unnecessary, flagrant and should have been avoided. For your actions, you were penalized and disqualified from the game.

NFL suspends Vontaze Burfict for the rest of the season

“Following each of your previous rule violations, you were warned by me and each of the jointly-appointed appeal officers that future 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.

“Your extensive history of rules violations is factored into this decision regarding accountability measures.”

Appeals are heard and decided by either Derrick Brooks or James Thrash, the officers jointly appointed and compensated by the NFL and NFLPA to decide appeals of on-field player discipline.

Burfict, who spent his first seven NFL seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals, signed with the Raiders in March. This will be the fourth suspension of his career, and he’s also had numerous fines for illegal hits.

In 2017, he was suspended for five games — later reduced to three — for making prohibited contact to the head and neck area of a defenseless player as well as forcible contact with his opponent away from the flow of the play.

In 2016, Burfict was suspended for the first three games of the season for unnecessary roughness for using his shoulder to make forcible contact to the head and neck area of a defenseless receiver.

Burfict also was suspended in 2018, for four games, for use of a banned substance.