Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict has a bit of a nasty boy reputation, and it is one he seems to embrace without hesitation. But is he crossing the line between being intimidating on the football field and looking to intentionally harm an opponent beyond the typical bruising that comes with playing professional football. Pittsburgh Steelers guard Ramon Foster thinks so.
On Sunday against the New England Patriots, Burfict and Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski went head-to-head on a couple of occasions, with Gronk not taking kindly to Burfict taking some dirty shots at his teammates. In one instance, Burfict appeared to intentionally stomp on the leg of Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount. Blount gave Burfict a shove at the end of the sequence, which you can see at the top of the pileup in the coaches film seen below.
Video: From coaches film (courtesy NFL), watch Vontaze Burfict (55) deliberately step on Blount's leg after TD. pic.twitter.com/wtTPqy3XHP
— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) October 17, 2016
During a Pittsburgh radio interview on Tuesday, Foster sounded off about Burfict’s behavior in the past.
“I also saw another clip to where him and [Rob Gronkowski] got into it. He did the same exact thing. He stepped on [Blount’s] leg and his shoe came off. And I’m looking at him like, ‘Yup, that the same exact move that he’s done to me too.”
Foster also called out the frequency of Burfict’s transgressions.
“There’s no place for that, man. To continuously do it – one or two times, okay I get it, but every single time? A stake has to be driven into the ground on this guy and I’m not sure what they care about, touchdown celebrations or player safety, but something has to be done,” Foster said.
“It’s frustrating to continue to see that go on. For one, I just can’t understand the mentality of him and two, those are the same things that he’s been doing for a while. But, the low hit on [Bennett] was insane. I know people are going to defend him and people are probably going to bash me.”
Not me. Burfict is out of control and nobody appears to be taking control of him for whatever reason. The fear is it may be too late to change the way Burfict plays. He did it in college at Arizona State and continues to do so with the Bengals. That is unfortunate, because he can be a really talented player. He just chooses to be the bad guy, and he isn’t Razor Ramon.