Vontaze Burfict Reinstated from NFL Suspension, Hopes to Return for 2020 Season

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistFebruary 24, 2020

FILE - In this Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019, file photo, Oakland Raiders outside linebacker Vontaze Burfict gets set for a play during the first half of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings, in Minneapolis. Burfict has been suspended for the rest of the season for a helmet-to-helmet hit on Indianapolis Colts tight end Jack Doyle, on Sunday, Sept. 29, 2019. NFL Vice President of football operations Jon Runyan announced the suspension Monday. (AP Photo/Jim Mone, File)
Jim Mone/Associated Press

Veteran linebacker Vontaze Burfict was reinstated by the NFL last month after being suspended for the final 12 games of the 2019 season, according to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network.

Though he played just four games for the Oakland Raiders last season, he's planning on returning to the field in 2020.

"Burfict has spent the entire offseason watching tape, talking to coaches, league executives, other experts about the proper code of conduct to stay in the league," Pelissero relayed from the player's agent, Peter Schaffer.

He added: "He is serious, Schaffer said, about coming back and doing things the right way."

Burfict was initially ejected in a Week 5 game against the Indianapolis Colts after a helmet-to-helmet hit on tight end Jack Doyle.

The NFL later announced he would be suspended for the remainder of the year for "repeat violations of unnecessary roughness rules."

"Following each of your previous rule violations, you were warned by me and each of the jointly-appointed appeal officers that future violations would result in escalated accountability measures," NFL VP of football operations Jon Runyan said in a league release. "However, you have continued to flagrantly abuse rules designated to protect yourself and your opponents from unnecessary risk."

The 29-year-old had been suspended six games for illegal hits before last season, plus four for the use of performance-enhancing drugs in 2018. According to Spotrac, the player has forfeited about $5.4 million in his career due to fines and suspensions.

He hasn't played a single 16-game season since his second year in the league in 2013, a year that included a Pro Bowl selection and an NFL-best 171 tackles.

Burfict has been an impact player when on the field since then, starting all 47 games he's played with the Bengals and Raiders. The player will now look for another opportunity as he enters free agency this offseason.

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