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.''
Arizona Cardinals RB David Johnson was benched by head coach Kliff Kingsbury in the Week 10 game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in favor of RB Kenyan Drake. Johnson lost a fumble in the third quarter and Kingsbury like what he saw from Drake. 'We just felt like with Drake, needed to get something going and kept him rolling,' Kingsbury said Monday, Nov. 11. 'The last couple weeks, practices, games (he) has brought a little pop to the run game, the pass game, and we felt like he was the guy to try and close the game out with.'
Fantasy Spin: Kingsbury added that the decision was his and had nothing to do with Johnson's recent rash of injuries. He said he'll figure out the best role for both Johnson and Drake over the next few weeks. It's bad news for Johnson's fantasy owners, as he already has struggled to live up to his early-round draft status.
Arizona Cardinals RB Chase Edmonds (hamstring) has missed the past two games, and head coach Kliff Kingsbury said he is uncertain for Week 11 against the San Francisco 49ers. 'I would expect him hopefully in the near future,' Kingsbury said.
Fantasy Spin: Edmonds will return to the crowded backfield with Kenyan Drake and David Johnson both considered the top two backs. He had his chance to shine in New York when Johnson was hurt and Drake not yet on the team, but he was injured and will now return to a logjam with minimal fantasy appeal.
Updating a previous report, San Francisco 49ers WR Emmanuel Sanders (ribs) will not return for the Week 10 game against the Seattle Seahawks due to an injury suffered to his ribs in the first half.
Fantasy Spin: With Sanders on the shelf it will be Kendrick Bourne, Dante Pettis and Deebo Samuel expected to pick up the slack in the pass game among the tight ends, especially with leading receiver TE George Kittle also inactive.
San Francisco 49ers DT D.J. Jones (groin) has been ruled out for the rest of the Week 10 game against the Seattle Seahawks on Monday, Nov. 11 after suffering a groin injury in the first half.
Seattle Seahawks TE Luke Willson (hamstring) suffered a hamstring injury in the first half of the Week 10 game against the San Francisco 49ers and he will not return.
San Francisco 49ers WR Emmanuel Sanders (ribs) suffered an apparent injury to his right rib cage area in the first half of the Week 10 game against the Seattle Seahawks. He pulled up on a route and was seen grabbing at the area during the telecast before leaving for the locker room. Sanders is questionable to return.
Fantasy Spin: It's a shame for Sanders and the 49ers, who just acquired him. Kendrick Bourne and Deebo Samuel should see more targets among the wideouts.
San Francisco 49ers DT D.J. Jones (groin) left the Week 10 game against the Seattle Seahawks in the first half due to a groin injury and he is questionable to return.
Kansas City Chiefs DE Emmanuel Ogbah (pectoral) is scheduled to undergo season-ending surgery this week to repair a torn pectoral muscle he suffered in Week 10, according to a source.
Arizona Cardinals CB Patrick Peterson (calf) is considered day-to-day because of the calf injury he suffered in Week 10.
Los Angeles Rams WR Brandin Cooks (concussion) will not be able to play in the Week 11 game.
Fantasy Spin: Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp and Josh Reynolds will continue to be the top three receivers for the Rams. Woods and Kupp are must-start options in fantasy leagues, but Reynolds could be benched if fantasy players have better options available.
Minnesota Vikings CB Trae Waynes (ankle) is expected to be available for the Week 11 game after he was inactive for Week 10.
Free-agent DTs Carl Davis (Colts), David Parry (Patriots) and Justin Ellis (Raiders) worked out for the Green Bay Packers Monday, Nov. 11.
Free-agent QB Tanner Lee (Jaguars), WR JJ Nelson (Raiders), OG Larry Allen Jr. (Chargers), PK Elliott Fry (Ravens) and P Kaare Vedvik (Jets) were among the players that worked out for the New York Giants Monday, Nov. 11.
Updating a previous report, Atlanta Falcons TE Austin Hooper (knee) has been diagnosed with a sprained medial collateral ligament and will miss some time. He is scheduled to receive a second opinion on the injury to determine how much time he will miss.
Fantasy Spin: Hooper has been one of the better tight ends in the NFL this season, so fantasy players should monitor the situation to see when he may be able to return. Luke Stocker and Jaeden Graham will see more playing time, but neither players should be fantasy options.
Atlanta Falcons RB Devonta Freeman (foot) may be sidelined for two weeks because of the foot sprain he suffered during the Week 10 game, according to a source.
Fantasy Spin: It seems like Freeman will miss at least one game because of the injury, but fantasy players should keep an eye on the situation. Brian Hill will receive most of the work while Freeman is sidelined and can be a No. 2 running back or flex option.
San Francisco 49ers RB Raheem Mostert (knee) is officially active for the team's Week 10 game.
Fantasy Spin: Mostert is coming off a disappointing Week 10 performance and probably will only see a handful of touches this week. He can be avoided in all fantasy leagues.
Seattle Seahawks WR Josh Gordon (ankle) is officially active for the team's Week 10 game.
Fantasy Spin: Gordon has been with the Seahawks for a little over a week, so he may see limited snaps this week against the San Francisco 49ers. Fantasy players probably should see him play in a game before considering him as a starting option.
San Francisco 49ers PK Robbie Gould (quadriceps) has been declared inactive for the team's Week 10 game.
Oakland Raiders LB Marquel Lee (ankle) participated in practice Monday, Nov. 11. He is currently on the Reserve/Injured list.