Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict has a reputation that seems to get worse and worse every week in which he’s on the field.
The public perception of Burfict is not pretty, and terms like “lifetime ban” have been tossed around following last week’s game against the Steelers.
But some of Burfict’s biggest defenders seem to be his week 7 opponents.
Tyreek Hill, Kansas City’s star wide receiver says that he wishes Burfict was a Chief.
“I love him as a player,” Hill said. “I feel like if I was a D-coordinator and I had to choose any linebacker in the NFL, I would definitely choose him. He’s definitely that hard-nosed, solid tackler, just dirty and grimy linebacker that I like...I’m not going to lie. Some of the stuff he do—it’s kind of over the border, but as a player, I like him as a player.”
That sums up how most Bengals fans feel about Burfict: a tough, gritty, and aggressive player who sometimes takes it a little too far. But the Bengals love Burfict as a player, and despite his extracurricular activity, you can’t deny that he is one of the most talented players on the roster.
“I don’t think he’s out for anybody right now,” said Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, “it’s just the way he plays the game, you know what I mean?”
Kelce agrees that Burfict is a skilled player who just gets caught up and takes things to far.
“This is the NFL,” he continued. “The entire week last week (against the Patriots) I was getting tripped at the line of scrimmage. You got to be aware on the football field at all times. It’s grown men with pads and a reckless abandon, so I don’t think this week is any different.”
Kelce says that he has a personal relationship with Burfict, so he knows that Burfict is not malicious, he just gets excited.
“It’s always been a respect type of thing” he said. “I’ve seen him on the field, off the field. He seems as personable as anybody else. He doesn’t seem like he has hate out here for somebody else. I think he’s just a very physical football player. I’m not defending the guy. I’m not saying that he’s not out here—I don’t frankly know. I just know that everything with me and him has been cool.”
Are the Cheifs just trying to get on Burfict’s good side before a head-to-head matchup? Maybe. Keep in mind, Burfict’s last safety-rules related suspension came due to a preseason hit on Chiefs fullback Anthony Sherman.
But in any case, Kelce and Hill both agreed that Vontaze Burficts do not grow on trees, and that he is definitely someone who they will have to pay attention to on Sunday night.
As Kelce says, “Either you got a guy like that on your team or you don’t.”