Steelers Don’t Need Reminding Who Vontaze Burfict Is

The Pittsburgh Steelers were not fortunate to be among the teams who got the opportunity to face the Cincinnati Bengals sans Vontaze Burfict, their talented but controversial inside linebacker, who was suspended for the first three games of the 2017 regular season. He also served a three-game suspension to start the 2016 season.

That first suspension tied very much directly to the Steelers, as it was triggered by a hit on wide receiver Antonio Brown in the playoffs the year before. The missed time was not due to that one incident alone, but rather due to an accumulation of incidents—which also included other encounters with Steelers players.

There is no love lost between the two sides, to be sure. Several players on the roster have very publicly gone after Burfict, for example, on social media. While quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was highly complimentary of him and what he does on the field yesterday, he knows that he himself has been on the receiving end of some of Burfict’s on-field misconduct.

His reputation is such that there is no need for special preparation to face him simply because the Steelers are already familiar with his work. A reporter asked Head Coach Mike Tomlin during his press conference yesterday if he would speak to his team about Burfict prior to the game.

No, they know who he is”, the head coach replied, saying much by saying little. As the reporter pressed on, he continued as well, saying, “I don’ think it’s necessary”, with regard to educating his players about facing the inside linebacker. “I think anybody that’s played for us understands it, understands the nature of it, and those that don’t will be educated by you guys”, naturally getting a dig in at the end.

The former undrafted free agent has had a number of suitably high-profile incidents just in his games against the Steelers alone, enough that I am probably forgetting some. There was the knee to the shoulder of Roethlisberger, for example, and a low hit in the pocket. He and David DeCastro, of all people, have had some clashes.

For as much attention that he draw to himself for his extracurriculars—he even got under his own teammates’ skin in training camp when he tackled running back Giovani Bernard, coming back from an ACL tear, in a non-tackling drill—it is unfortunate, because he is actually a very good player.

In just the two games since he returned from suspension, for example, Burfict has already racked up 19 tackles, including 14 primary tackles, as well as a sack and a pass defensed. He is serving as a tackle captain this year for the Bengals.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.

  • colingrant

    Never heard of Burfict until his clash and take down (by face mask) of Willie Colon on a Thursday or Monday night game a few years back. Went down exactly like Burfict vs DeCastro. Planted on back, but grabs face mask on way down. Would fit perfectly in the 70’s NFL.

  • pcantidote

    Celebrating the Bell injury was the worst one for me to stomach. The guy is just a total POS.

  • srdan

    I like the guy. He is just playing in the wrong era. As Charlie Murhpy would say, he is a “habitual line stepper”. One of these guys that you like on your team, but not otherwise.

  • pcantidote

    BS. He isn’t a line stepper. He has several proven incidents of trying to injure other players, and I genuinely believe that he lacks the intelligence to learn or change. There is no place in the league for someone like that.

  • srdan

    I’m sure most people would agree with you. In my opinion it sounds a lot like Lambert. Someone that people revere around here.

  • pcantidote

    I’m not old enough to remember Lambert’s game at that level of detail. I was just a young kid. I’d defer to others regarding whether that is a valid comparison.

  • The Tony

    I would love to see Rosie involved in the gamelan. Find Burfict and hit him. Same with DeCastro. Hell every player get a hit on him. If JuJu really wants to make a name for himself, plant VB on his ass. He will definitely sell a few more jerseys doing that.

  • Orlysteel

    This dude consistently goes out of his way to deliberately injure people at the cost of costing his team, he’s uncontrollable and should’ve been suspended indefinitely by the league the only team that would put up with such an a hole are the Bengals.

  • Andrew

    I agree. If the game were like it were back in the day and he played for the Steelers, he’d be revered. Unfortunately he’s playing in the safety era and for a rival. So..screw him!

  • blackandgoldBullion

    The name of that thug on the Bengals should never be mentioned in the same breath or sentence as the great Jack Lambert. Skinny Jack would annihilate guys much bigger than himself and definitely finish the play. After the play he would yell and scream and tell you that this would continue the rest of the day. He would get under your skin. He was dominant.

    Did guys get away with stuff back then? Of course. But Lambert might hurt you by just smashing you on the tackle and had no need to try anything obviously to injure after the play. I refer to that Bengal thug that twists knees, ankles and heads, and sometimes knees or kicks people in the head, well after the play is dead. The rules are different now and this doorknob should know better and not be allowed to continue to act this way.

  • Joeybaggadonuts

    I would love to JJSS pull a Hines on him!

  • Joeybaggadonuts

    👍👍👍

  • Joeybaggadonuts

    Every team in the league has and needs one…it ain’t choir practice.

  • Joeybaggadonuts

    We would love him if he wore B&G!

  • pittfan

    Lambert never beat up TV cameras.

  • pcantidote

    Not a chance. People are barely tolerating Mitchell and it isn’t even clear that he’s done anything wrong.

  • pcantidote

    Who on the Steelers has been proven to have tried to injure people, and then celebrate it when it happens?

  • srdan

    We all learn in different ways. There is no chance he tries to go lower than a pulling Steelers guard again. He learned.

  • pcantidote

    You are missing the point. He won’t learn to stop trying to injure people. He’ll just try to find a new way to injure a pulling guard.

  • will

    Burfict = THUG

  • nitch19

    And I’d say Burfict should always have his head on a swivel. Perfect POS for an offensive bounty….for someone to take one of his knees out.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    First game post surgery I’ll be at. Going to attempt to see if the person at the end of my row will switch with me because of my leg. Got a full leg brace to be able to move around.

  • Joeybaggadonuts

    If your burden of proof is in the form of a fine, then James Harrison and Mike Mitchell come to mind. Last year Ross Cockrel was fined. Al V head butted a guy this year. I’m not convinced Burfict was celibrating Bells injury so much as a good wallop on him just as Mitchell celebrated a good hit on L Fourtaineaut 12 yards downfield (stupidly) and will be fined for his hit Alex Smith. James Harrison was his teammate and said he was a good guy. The NFL is a violent game played by gladiators. Would you watch if it was flag football? What about our beloved Hines Ward?

  • Joeybaggadonuts

    Mitchell is good but not as good as Burfict

  • srdan

    Do you think he studies tape on how he can hurt people or he gets caught up in the moment during an emotional game?

    Do you think there is a difference?

  • Frank Martin

    “. . .it is unfortunate, because he actually is a very good player.”
    He’s always been a very good player, and he’s always been an absolute jerk. That’s why he wasn’t drafted. Didn’t he punch somebody on the field in college and get suspended for it?

  • pcantidote

    Yes, I suspect he did study the film on our pulling guards and think about how he could try to take out their legs. I think he also thought about how to tackle someone the way he tackled Bell to blow out a knee.

  • J.

    I wont speak for all of Steeler nation but no I would not love Burfict if were playing for us.

  • pcantidote

    Fines happen to a lot of people for questionable calls. My burden of proof is suspensions, which is the league’s way of saying enough is enough. None of the people you mentioned for us have been suspended nearly as much as Burfict, if at all for that matter.

  • Joeybaggadonuts

    He is a Pro Bowler and he would fall into step due to the character/leadership in the locker room with an occasional transgression…I’m leaving the light on

  • Joeybaggadonuts

    No but ask Cliff Harris or Charlie Waters (I forget which). To a man team mates believe Lambert throwing him to the ground changed the complexion of that Super Bowl.

  • Joeybaggadonuts

    Nearly as much….really? You need to up your game. 🙂 That’s a BS response. The NFL has the Smilin Hines Ward rule.

  • Joeybaggadonuts

    That coupled with weight gain, change of coaches and a horrible 40 is also why he didn’t get drafted. Notice no off field issues. Legarret Blount is who got suspended….smoked some chronic got suspended, walked off the field on his team and still has had a great career.

  • pittfan

    It was Cliff Harris, but that was in response to Harris taunting Gerela missing a kick. Burfict slammed a TV camera on the sidelines that had nothing to do with anything on the field of play. I don’t mind hard play but stupid violence is another thing. I just think the guy is twisted in the head.

  • pittfan

    There’s film of him almost blowing out a QBs knees all the way back to high school.

  • pcantidote

    So when was Hines ever suspended? He was playing within the rules. That’s why the rules had to be changed. I know these can be difficult concepts for some to grasp.

  • Joe Strohs

    CHARLIE MURPHY !!!!

  • Will

    Well Mitchell can be dirty but not nearly as Burfict.

  • Will

    Yeah the do have that rule don’t they.

    Kinda makes you think it was created to stop an legal play into one that is illegal.

    Hmm..you think it was given the nickname Hines Ward rule because he broke that rule more than anyone after they made it or because they wanted to stop that type of previously legal play?

    Oh sorry…what was the point of your post about Smiling Hines again?

  • Will

    I hate Burfict but I don’t think he was celebrating Bell getting injured. The Steelers D has also run around celebrating when an opposing player has gotten hurt so no I think it’s just them celebrating and not realizing someone is really hurt.

  • pcantidote

    Well then you’d have to explain why he would act the way he did (went running and screaming all the way out to mid field) after an 8 yard gain on first down after looking down at Bell on ground.

  • Joeybaggadonuts

    Isn’t that like being pregnant?

  • Joeybaggadonuts

    I guess my point is that these guys are alpha dogs. I’m not necessarily convinced that there is malice but some guys are willing to step over the line to be the alpha dog… Some tiptoe around the line and some go to the line. Read about Dr. HarryEdwards and his input in building championship football teams. In order to have a champion, you want to team comprised of high character guys but you also want some bad asses who aren’t afraid to step over the line. Hines, if not mistaken, was voted as one of the dirtiest players in the league from time to time. The patriots had Rodney Harrison.

  • Aj Gentile

    There is a big difference between during play and after play. Twisting ankles to try to take someone out of a game is not alpha dog. Why not stab them in the leg in the pile?

  • Will

    Stab them in the leg? Please don’t give Burf ideas.

  • Joeybaggadonuts

    I saw this headline somewhere…

    Steelers S Mike Mitchell Fined $48,620 For Hit On Chiefs QB Alex Smith

    Yes I’m an a$$ hat…