On Monday, talented but controversial linebacker Vontaze Burfict was released by the Cincinnati Bengals. He spent his first seven seasons with the team.
The decision came after a year in which Burfict missed nine games between injuries and suspensions. The latter is something that Burfict is no stranger to during his career. He has served suspensions of at least three games in each of the last three seasons.
One day after being released, he has a new NFL home. Burfict is now an Oakland Raiders.
Jon Gruden’s team has been extremely active in making splashy moves since he took over. Last year, it dealt Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper to the Chicago Bears and Dallas Cowboys, respectively, for draft picks.
This off-season, they effectively replaced Cooper with one of the NFL’s best receivers in former Pittsburgh Steeler Antonio Brown. Now, they add Burfict, who has an interesting history with AB.
The Raiders announced the signing of Vontaze Burfict earlier tonight.
Reunited with Coach Guenther.
— Oakland Raiders (@Raiders) March 20, 2019
Just last season, Burfict delivered an illegal hit on Brown, which was one of the plays that drew a $112,000 fine from the NFL after a Bengals-Steelers AFC North game.
Today, he brushed off the potential for conflict between the two former rivals.
Vontaze Burfict on new teammate/old nemesis Antonio Brown: "We're on the same team. It's one goal. It's all positive, man. He's a great player. He's gonna be in the Hall of Fame one day."
— Matt Schneidman (@mattschneidman) March 20, 2019
Vontaze said he and Antonio Brown are on the same team, with one goal. "He's going to be a hall of famer some day. …We're trying to win a championship together."
— Scott Bair (@BairNBCS) March 20, 2019
Burfict has 502 total tackles and seven sacks during his career. He’s also intercepted five passes, and forced three fumbles. In 2013, he was a second team All-Pro, and a Pro Bowler.