The Raiders won a game Sunday, but may have lost a linebacker in the process.
Veteran Vontaze Burfict could be facing a ban for the rest of the season, ESPN’s Chris Mortensen reported Monday morning.
Burfict was ejected in the second quarter of the Raiders’ 31-24 victory over the Colts in Indianapolis for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Colts receiver Jack Doyle. Doyle had caught the ball, fell and was getting up – he was on his knees -- when Burfict came in to hit him in the helmet. Officials threw a penalty flag for the hit, and ejected Burfict.
Adam Schefter of ESPN also reported that Burfict could be suspended as soon as Monday by the league.
Because the former Bengals linebacker has a history of extra-rough/illegal hits, that would likely figure into his suspension, Mortensen and Schefter reported. In 2016 and 2017 Burfict was suspended for three games each season because of illegal hits.
Raiders head coach Jon Gruden didn’t argue with the call to eject Burfict.
“It’s a tough decision,” Gruden told the media Sunday after the game. “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.”
Raiders defensive back Lamarcus Joyner told the Las Vegas Review-Journal after the game he doesn’t believe Burfict will be suspended, and will be with the team this coming Sunday when the Raiders take on the Chicago Bears in London.
“It wasn’t intentional, it was just a bang-bang play,” Joyner said. “He’ll probably get fined for it – of course he will. But he should be there with us in London.”
The Raiders, now tied with the Chargers at 2-2 for second place in the AFC West behind undefeated Kansas City, will take on the 3-1 Bears in England, with kickoff set for 10 a.m. in the Bay Area.