Following Sunday's ejection of Vontaze Burfict and the ensuing 12-game suspension, there was a range of emotions. Some Oakland Raiders players were angry, while Indianapolis Colts tight end Jack Doyle said that the play was just a tackle. However, Frank Reich, the Colts' head coach, was happy about the punishment, as he revealed on Monday.
As he explained to media members, this tackle by Burfict is something that he believes shouldn't be in the NFL. In fact, Reich thinks that sending the linebacker home for the rest of the season was certainly warranted.
"Just thankful the league took action like it did," Reich said to reporters. "When someone does something like that, attacks one of your players, it's not supposed to be in the game. Glad they did what they did. Actions feel very appropriate."
To Reich's point about the punishment being appropriate, this hit by Burfict was not the only moment from his career that played a role in his suspension. According to a letter from Jon Runyan, NFL Vice President of Football Operations, there were multiple instances from Burfict's past that contributed to his significant punishment.
Throughout his career, Burfict has been fined more than $400,000 and has been suspended 12 games. That total now goes up to 24 games if the appeal does not result in a reduced sentence. Either way, the Raiders will be without a team captain for the foreseeable future.
"I think it was penalized multiple times by multiple referees today," Raiders coach Jon Gruden said about the helmet-to-helmet hit. "Nobody on the field in our stadium or in this zip code made the call to eject him. That came from New York City, so what can I do? I don't have a cellphone on the field.
"It's a tough decision, it's a tough call. I think it was a flag. It was very well-documented that the league was going to review those plays this year in New York City. So, that's what happened and I'll wait to hear what their reasoning was. But it was a penalty, he went in there with his head down, it was called and, unfortunately for us, it was an ejection."
The two head coaches may have differing opinions on the league's decision, but the punishment has been handed down. Burfict will miss the remainder of the season due to this suspension while the Raiders look for another linebacker to step into a relatively thin position group.