For a change, Vontaze Burfict found himself on the receiving end of a bone-crushing hit that an official would deem illegal. During his Cincinnati Bengals’ 23-20 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday night, the linebacker got absolutely demolished on a peel-back block by rookie receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster.
— T.J. Santillo (@tjsantillo) December 5, 2017
One could make the argument the linebacker, long regarded as one of the NFL’s dirtiest players, brought this upon himself.
Burfict did it to himself. Remember this?! You think they was gone forget.
— Sweet Jones (@ImJustJoking_) December 5, 2017
Before Monday’s game, Burfict accused Brown of faking an injury on the play.
“He faked that. … I feel like he looked at me. 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,” Burfict told ESPN. “And just the way he went down, it was just like—I don’t know man.”
An interesting reaction, particularly because Brown wouldn’t be able to play in the AFC championship game a week later, and because 11 months after the incident, Brown said Burfict had apologized in person.
“[He was] just saying he didn’t have no intentions of trying to injure, that it was a football move,” Brown said.
Late on Monday night, Smith-Schuster apologized to Burfict via Twitter.
I don’t have any intentions to hurt anyone when I play football. I didn’t mean to hurt Vontez Burfict, I just wanted to throw a block for my teammate. I apologize for standing over him and that isn’t me. Praying he gets better.
— JuJu Smith-Schuster (@TeamJuJu) December 5, 2017