On Wednesday, the case was made (both in print and in the #PFTPM podcast) for a permanent banishment of Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict, in the aftermath of his latest on-field misconduct during a game against the Steelers.
There’s a history between Burfict and Smith-Schuster, arising from an illegal hit that Smith-Schuster applied to Burfict last season, resulting in a suspension. Given that background and based on Burfict’s obvious actions and alleged words, it’s not hard to discern his intentions. If anything more were needed, consider something Burfict did during the offseason.
A Twitter user made this highly inappropriate observation on March 18: “ur gonna be mad when JuJu ends up like [Ryan] Shazier.” The same user later posted a screen shot of Burfict pressing the “like” button as to that sentiment, a reference to the serious neck injury Shazier suffered against the Bengals last December.
Burfict has since un-liked the tweet. But Burfict still has this message on his list of likes, over a photo of Smith-Schuster holding up an image of himself standing over Burfict, immediately after the hit that triggered a suspension: “I want to see you lay this boy out. He thinks he’s big sh-t cause he blind sided you, but he ain’t ready for you, he don’t know what he got himself into!!!
@TeamJuJu go ahead and keep bragging, you ready to get carted off the field this season?”
That should be more than enough to prompt a lengthy suspension (or more) for Burfict, given what he did to Brown and what Burfict threatened to do to Smith-Schuster.
Given that an illegal hit on Chiefs fullback Anthony Sherman resulted in a suspension for Burfict last year, it will make sense to keep a close eye on everything Burfict does on Sunday night in Kansas City. While it’s possible that he got a pass for his latest antics because the NFL prefers to keep everyone focused exclusively on the pinball-machine offensive numbers being generated this year, the league can’t continue to look the other way regarding a player who has proven time and again to have no regard for the health and safety of his opponents.