Thu Oct 17 6:01pm ET
By JOSH DUBOW
AP Pro Football Writer
In this July 29, 2019, file photo, Oakland Raiders linebacker Vontaze Burfict attends NFL football training camp in Napa, Calif. Oakland defensive coordinator Paul Guenther lashed out at the NFL for the severe suspension the league handed Burfict for his latest infraction for a helmet-to-helmet hit. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)
ALAMEDA, Calif. (AP) Oakland defensive coordinator Paul Guenther lashed out at the NFL for the lengthy suspension the league handed to Raiders linebacker Vontaze Burfict for a helmet-to-helmet hit, one of a series of violations for which he has been punished.
Burfict was suspended for the final 12 games of the regular season and the playoffs for the hit to the head of Indianapolis tight end Jack Doyle on Sept. 29. It was longest suspension ever handed down by the league for an on-field infraction.
Burfict appealed the penalty hoping to get it reduced but that was denied last week by appeals officer Derrick Brooks. The previous longest suspension was five games handed to Tennessee's Albert Haynesworth in 2006 for kicking and stomping on Cowboys center Andre Gurode's face, leading to 30 stitches.
''I think it was a witch hunt from the beginning quite honestly,'' Guenther said Thursday. ''Somebody at the league didn't want him playing football and they got what they wanted.''
NFL Vice President of Football Operations Jon Runyan handed down the penalty to punish Burfict severely for ''repeated violations of unnecessary roughness rules'' after the hit on Doyle. It was the third time Burfict has been suspended for a dangerous hit on the field to go along with several others that led to fines.
The suspension is without pay, costing Burfict more than $1.1 million in salary and per game active roster bonuses.
Guenther said he's most upset about the lack of a clear standard and that he and the team will keep a close eye on other infractions to see if they are dealt with the same way.
''Now they've opened up a whole can or worms as far as the next guy who is going to do this,'' he said. ''We have to make sure if we do this to this one guy, this one guy driving 38 miles per hour in a 30 mile per hour zone, a cop looking for one guy doing it, then all the players should be held to the same one standard. To me that's where I have the issue.''
During his time in Cincinnati, Burfict was repeatedly suspended by the NFL for egregious hits and violating its policy on performance-enhancers. He was fined regularly for hits that crossed the line, most notably the one to Antonio Brown's head that helped the Steelers rally for an 18-16 playoff win in the 2015 season. That led to a three-game suspension to start the 2016 season.
Burfict then was penalized with a five-game suspension for a blind-side block against Kansas City fullback Anthony Sherman in the 2017 preseason. The suspension was later reduced to three games.
Burfict was also fined $112,000 last season for hits on Brown and James Conner in a game against Pittsburgh.
Despite that history, Burfict said after signing with the Raiders that he disputes accusations that he is a ''dirty'' player.
But it was that history that led to this punishment, with Runyan telling Burfict in a letter that he ''continued to flagrantly abuse rules designated to protect yourself and your opponents from unnecessary risk.''
''Does it make any sense to sign a guy if after one infraction he's going to get thrown out of the league for a year? No, it doesn't,'' Guenther said. ''I think it's very unfair. It's unfair to our team and unfair to Vontaze.''
Cleveland Browns RB Kareem Hunt will 'absolutely' continue to play a big role in the passing game, according to Jake Trotter of ESPN.
Fantasy Spin: Hunt has 13 catches for 90 yards in two games for the Browns, and he has become a safety valve of sorts for quarterback Baker Mayfield. Throw in a handful of carries, and he is worth considering as a flex option in PPR formats.
New York Jets WR Robby Anderson has 13 total receptions in five games since QB Sam Darnold returned from a bout with mono.
Fantasy Spin: He actually had a big performance in Darnold's first game back, but Anderson has just eight catches for 97 yards in the last four games combined. A Week 11 matchup with Washington looks good on paper, but he is a big-play dependent flex option, at best.
Miami Dolphins WR DeVante Parker's 'upside' may be limited in Week 11 because of the coverage skills of Buffalo Bills CB Tre'Davious White, according to Cameron Wolfe of ESPN.com.
Fantasy Spin: Parker had five catches for 55 yards and a touchdown in the first meeting with the Buffalo, but with Preston Williams sidelined, White and the Bills can focus all their attention on Parker. He is a touchdown-dependent WR3.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Blaine Gabbert (shoulder) won't be activated from the Reserve/Injured list this season, head coach Bruce Arians said Saturday, Nov. 16.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers S Justin Evans (foot) needs surgery on his foot and won't be activated from the Reserve/Injured list this season, head coach Bruce Arians said Saturday, Nov. 16.
Buffalo Bills DE Jerry Hughes (groin) likely will be a game-time decision for the Week 11 game.
New England Patriots S Obi Melifonwu (undisclosed) was placed on the practice squad Reserve/Injured list this week.
Miami Dolphins WR Allen Hurns signed a two-year contract extension with the Dolphins Saturday, Nov. 16, worth $8 million, according to a source. The deal includes $3.27 million in guaranteed money.
Indianapolis Colts practice squad WR Deon Cain and Chicago Bears practice squad RB Kerrith Whyte were signed to the Pittsburgh Steelers 53-man roster Saturday, Nov. 16. Terms of the contracts were not disclosed. The Steelers also waived LB Jayrone Elliott and RB Tony Brooks-James.
Detroit Lions practice squad RB Bo Scarbrough was signed to the 53-man roster Saturday, Nov. 16. Terms of the contract were not disclosed. The team also waived RB Paul Perkins.
Los Angeles Rams RB John Kelly was waived Saturday, Nov. 16.
Arizona Cardinals TE Maxx Williams signed a two-year extension with the Cardinals Saturday, Nov. 16, that will run through the 2021 season. Financial terms were not disclosed.
New England Patriots RB Damien Harris (hamstring) and SS Patrick Chung (chest, heel) have been ruled out of the team's Week 11 game.
Los Angeles Chargers OT Sam Tevi (knee) did not participate in practice Saturday, Nov. 16, and has been ruled out for Week 11. WR Geremy Davis (hamstring) and RB Justin Jackson (calf) did not practice and are listed as doubtful. OT Russell Okung (groin) did not practice and is listed as questionable. S Roderic Teamer (groin) and LS Cole Mazza (illness) fully participated in practice but are listed as questionable. LB Drue Tranquill (calf) was limited during practice but is not on the injury report. LB Denzel Perryman (knee), DT Justin Jones (shoulder), OG Dan Feeney (shoulder), LB Thomas Davis (non-injury) and OT Trey Pipkins (toe) fully participated in practice and are not on the injury report.
Kansas City Chiefs WR Sammy Watkins (groin) fully participated in practice Saturday, Nov. 16, and is not on the injury report for Week 11.
Fantasy Spin: Watkins has been targeted 27 times in three games since returning from injury and should have a solid role against the Los Angeles Chargers. He can be considered a No. 3 receiver or flex option in fantasy leagues.
Kansas City Chiefs TE Blake Bell (ankle), DE Emmanuel Ogbah (pectoral) and DE Alex Okafor (ankle) did not participate in practice Saturday, Nov. 16, and have been ruled out for Week 11. CB Kendall Fuller (thumb) was limited during practice and is listed as questionable. OT Mitchell Schwartz (knee) was limited during practice but is not on the injury report. DE Frank Clark (neck), OG Laurent Duvernay-Tardif (ankle), OT Cameron Erving (ankle), OT Eric Fisher (groin), DT Chris D. Jones (groin) and DT Derrick Nnadi (elbow) fully participated in practice and are not on the injury report.
Kansas City Chiefs RB Damien Williams (non-injury) did not participate in practice Saturday, Nov. 16, and is listed as questionable for Week 11.
Fantasy Spin: Williams is not dealing with an injury, so he should have a good chance to play in Week 11. He can be considered a No. 2 running back in fantasy leagues if he plays.
Kansas City Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes (knee) fully participated in practice Saturday, Nov. 16, and is not on the injury report for Week 11.
Fantasy Spin: Mahomes has thrown 18 touchdowns and one interception in eight games this season and continues to be one of the top quarterbacks in the NFL. He is a must-start option in all fantasy leagues.