Embattled Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict, suspended for the first three games of next season, says he needs to change his style of play. That’s true, unless Burfict wants to continue losing money, while being labeled a dirty player by opponents.
Burfict made his first public comments since being suspended to Josina Anderson of ESPN. Burfict was suspended three games for repeated violations of player-safety rules, most recently during the Bengals’ January playoff loss to the Steelers. During that game, Burfict gave Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown a concussion on a vicious hit that was flagged for unnecessary roughness.
The week before against the Ravens, Burfict was fined $50,000 for an unnecessary blindside hit on Ravens tight end Maxx Williams, while Williams was defenseless. After that hit, outraged Ravens offensive lineman John Urschel posted a video of that senseless play on his Twitter account.http://www.csnmidatlantic.com/blog/ravens-talk/burfict-being-blasted-hit-against-ravens-te-williams-week-17
Burfict has established a clear pattern of over-the-top behavior. Now Burfict says he would like to have a do-over on the hit that concussed Brown.
“Like I told coach, I wish I could take that play back because I probably would have hit him low,” Burfict told Anderson. “I don’t like hitting low, but I have to change because it’s getting flags because I hit him high or hit him in the helmet, and it’s so hard to determine where to hit the offender because they’re going to tuck their body, and you have to pretty much tuck with them.
“I tried to pull up at the last second, but it was obviously too late – it’s a bang-bang play.”
Asked about his reputation, Burfict said. “I play hard. Sometimes it gets me in trouble. My style of play is aggressive, and (the game has) changed, and I have to change with it, and that play right there, I think if I wasn’t number 55, I wouldn’t have got flagged.”
Burfict’s biggest problem hasn’t been his number, but how he has behaved wearing that number. After he returns from his latest punishment, people will see if that behavior has changed.
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