With Oakland Raiders linebacker Vontaze Burfict being suspended for the remaining 12 regular-season games on the schedule barring appeal, the question of "is he a dirty player" is once again dominating the conversation. Burfict's teammates in the Silver and Black completely disagree with this assessment, but many more view the veteran linebacker as having questionable morals. Former NFL tight end Shannon Sharpe is one of those people and believes that Burfict goes out on the field with the intent of hurting others.
"Man, you are going to mess around and hurt somebody," Sharpe said on Monday during Skip and Shannon: Undisputed. "Skip [Bayless], you don't go out there trying to intentionally hurt somebody. I believe he goes out there with the intent to hurt someone."
During this back-and-forth about the illegal hits in Burfict's career, Sharpe explained why, in his opinion, Burfict should be completely removed from the NFL. This was brought about by the hit on Indianapolis Colts tight end Jack Doyle that resulted in an ejection and the suspension. However, this latest hit was only one of the many moments that Sharpe brought up during the discussion.
To further his point, Sharpe also discussed the other decisions from Burfict's past that have resulted in penalties and fines. He mentioned intentionally twisting ankles and poking other players in the eyes. Burfict was fined $25,000 in 2014 for twisting the ankles of Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton and tight end Greg Olsen.
One of the more common arguments being made in support of Burfict is that New England Patriots defensive back Jonathan Jones was not ejected for his hit on Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills. This resulted in the second-year quarterback leaving the game with a concussion and being in danger of missing next week's battle with the Tennessee Titans.
"Why was Burfict ejected and suspended but Jones only received a penalty?" Sharpe has a response for this, and he believes that the difference is how the contact was initiated. The Patriots DB ran in and attempted to tackle Allen. Replay also showed him turning his head. Burfict, on the other hand, "launched himself helmet first."
That difference in approach changes the appearance of the hit. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said after the game that Jones is not a player that intentionally tries to hurt others, and he believes that the replay supports this statement. According to Sharpe, the footage from the Colts game only shows that Burfict is intentionally trying to bring harm to others.