Is Vontaze Burfict Dirty? NFL to Review “Twisting” Allegations


Oct 12, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) runs with the ball to score a touchdown as Cincinnati Bengals outside linebacker Vontaze Burfict (55) defends during the second half at Paul Brown Stadium. The Bengals and the Panthers tie in overtime 37-37. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

If the Carolina Panthers have their way, Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict will be back on the sideline, rather than on the field, sooner rather than later.   Specifically, Panthers’ coach Ron Rivera maintains that Burfict should be suspended for intentionally twisting the ankles of quarterback Cam Newton and tight end Greg Olsen during the teams’ game on Sunday.  Now, a “league source” tells ESPN’s Ed Werder that the NFL will review the available evidence.

Sometimes lost among Burfict’s awesome hits and his lingering concussion concerns is the nagging notion that his tactics on the field may not always be completely above board.   Burfict led the team in penalties last year and is tied for the lead again this season despite limited playing time.

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Burfict also had eight unnecessary roughness calls in 2013 and has racked up more than $50,000 in fines related to his play-making.

Giancarlo King at the Bleacher Report gave an early rundown of the allegations, and the available video clips and images make it hard to think that Burfict wasn’t up to something a little more nefarious than just playing footsie with Newton and Olsen.

The Bengals are in a precarious position at this point, with a very promising season starting to look pretty shaky over the last two weeks.  A big part of that change has been due to a porous run defense, and losing Burfict for even more time would only exacerbate that problem.

The ESPN story linked above contends that a fine, rather than a suspension, is the likely outcome for Burfict, and that’s probably right.

If the NFL decides this is a place they need to get tough, though, it’s the Bengals who could pay the real price.