Time and time again, Burfict has led with his helmet when tackling players. He’s gone after defenseless receivers, stomped on Legarrette Blount after a scrum and administered a helmet-to-helmet hit on Indianapolis Colts tight end Jack Doyle so hard he was suspended for 12 games, the longest suspension for an on-field act ever. Simply put, there’s no place in the NFL for Burfict.
During the 2015 NFL playoffs, Burfict laid a nasty hit on Antonio Brown that not only made his body go limp but gave him a concussion and, in the minds of some, changed the former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver’s life forever.
Vontaze Burfict’s Hit On Antonio Brown
That’s Burfict flying across the screen to knock Brown out of the game. It was one of the dirtiest hits the game has ever seen, and it gave seven-time Pro Bowl receiver a concussion. Burfict absurdly claimed Brown faked the concussion despite not playing the following week.
“He faked that… I feel like he looked at me,” Burfict told ESPN The Magazine. “The ball tipped off his hands and he kind of put his head towards my area, and I tried to fade off of him at the last second, but he initially tried to make contact because he knew he could get the flag. And just the way he went down, it was just like — I don’t know man.”Advertisement
After that 15-yard penalty, Bengals’ Pacman Jones drew another 15-yard penalty by pushing Steelers coach Joey Porter to set up the Steelers game-winner with 14 seconds remaining. The Steelers went on to win the game, 18-16, and Burfict was suspended for the first three games of the 2016 season.
The Hit Possibly Changed Brown’s Life
Brown remained one of the game’s best receivers afterward. He tallied more than 4,000 receiving yards and 36 touchdowns over the next three Pro Bowl seasons.
But one Pittsburgh radio host believes his demeanor changed after the concussion. Colin Dunlap, host of 93.7 The Fan, said Brown’s outrageous and strange behavior that led to him not playing in the NFL began with the Burfict concussion hit.
“He started to be someone who was afraid everyone was out to get him, he never smiled after that all that much – he became somebody different. He used to be innocently narcissistic, much like a lot of receivers in the NFL, but he didn’t have this dark side to him. And for me, every single incident, it all happened after the Burfict hit,” Dunlap told told The Zach Gelb Show, according to Cinninati.com.Advertisement
“If you can’t see the trajectory that took a sharp spike right after the Burfict hit – and he has never recovered since then. That’s just all fact, the timeline: the everybody’s out to get me, the dark, never smiling. The guy used to smile all the time. … When’s the last time you’ve seen AB happy? … I think that the launching point for me is that AFC Wild Card game. I think it’s that, and I think his head is messed up from football.”
Whether Brown’s head is “messed up from football” is anyone’s guess. But Brown’s unusual behavior from 2019 on is undeniable. Did this all start with Vontaze Burfict’s disgusting hit?