The Oakland Raiders have not moved on from the season-long suspension of linebacker Vontaze Burfict, weeks after the penalty was handed down by the NFL. Raiders defensive coordinator Paul Guenther, who coached Burfict for five of his six NFL seasons, was less than pleased with the punishment of his starting linebacker.
"For us to sign him and the history I had with this guy, with us knowing that the next infraction he was going to get was gonna end his season, maybe his career, I think it was a witch hunt from the beginning quite honestly," Guenther said. "Somebody in the league didn't want him playing football and they got what they wanted. So we're going to keep a close eye, the Raiders are going to keep a close eye and make sure everybody's being held to the same standard as Vontaze was.
"Does it make any sense to sign a guy after one infraction he's going to get thrown out of the league for a year? No, it doesn't. I think it's very unfair. it's unfair to our team. It's unfair to Vontaze."
Burfict was suspended multiple times for hits in his career, so this isn't his first offense. He was suspended four games in 2017 for an illegal hit on fullback Anthony Sherman and four games the year prior for an illegal hit on wide receiver Antonio Brown. His illegal hit on tight end Jack Doyle warranted another multiple-game suspension, but the NFL decided to take this one a step further.
"They've opened up a whole can of worms as far as the next guy who's going to do it," Guenther said. "We've got to make sure if we're going to do it to this one guy, this one guy driving 38 miles an hour in a 30 mile-an-hour zone for the cop looking for one guy doing it, that all the players are (held) to the same standard. That's where I have the issue."
Burfict's suspension was certainly determined by reputation and failure to cooperate. Guenther is sticking up for his player, but the punishment appeared to have fit the crime.