Vontaze Burfict Suspended Without Pay for 2019 Season
Oakland Raiders linebacker Vontaze Burfict will be suspended without pay for the entire 2019 season for his helmet-to-helmet hit in Sunday's game against the Indianapolis Colts, the NFL announced on Monday.
Burfict, in his first season with the Raiders, was ejected from Oakland's 31-24 win over the Colts in the second quarter after a hit on Colts tight end Jack Doyle. The Raiders were assessed a 15-yard penalty for unnecessary roughness and Burfict was promptly tossed from the game after a video review of the play.
NFL Vice President of Football Operations Jon Runyan issued Burfict's suspension on Monday.
"There were no mitiating circumstances on this play," Runyan wrote in a letter to Burfict. "Your contact was unnecessary, flagrant and should have been avoided."
Burfict has lost more than $4 million, including fines and forfeited game checks, during his eight-year career with the Cincinnati Bengals and Raiders. He signed a one-year, $2 million contract with Oakland in March.
Before this season, Burfict had been suspended multiple times for dangerous play, and his latest ban would stem from being a repeat offender.
In 2016, he was suspended for three games for safety violations. He also missed the first three games of the 2017 season after having his suspension lowered from five games to three for an illegal hit on a defenseless player in the preseason.
Burfict was also suspended four games last season for violating the league's performance-enhancing drug policy.
"Following each of your rule violations, you were warned by me and each of the jointly-appointed appeal officers that future violations would result in escalated accountability measures," Runyan wrote to Burfict. "However, you continued to flagrantly abuse rules designated to protect yourself and your opponents from unnecessary risk."
Burfict has three business days to appeal the suspension under the current Collective Bargaining Agreement.