Derek Carr defends Vontaze Burfict over ‘excessive’ season-long suspension for a helmet-to-helmet hit

  • The NFL suspended Oakland Raiders linebacker Vontaze Burfict for the rest of the NFL season after a helmet-to-helmet hit in Week 4.
  • On Wednesday, Raiders quarterback Derek Carr defended Burfict, calling him "one of the most misunderstood people in the NFL."
  • Carr called the punishment "excessive," saying other players who made similar plays have not been punished.
  • Burfict is appealing the suspension.
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The NFL came down hard on Vontaze Burfict on Monday, suspending the Oakland Raiders linebacker for the rest of the season for a helmet-to-helmet hit.

The play took place in the second quarter of Week 4. Burfict lowered his helmet to hit Indianapolis Colts tight end Jack Doyle, who was near the ground after a catch. Burfict hit Doyle helmet to helmet and was ejected, the sixth ejection of his career.

On Wednesday, Raiders quarterback Derek Carr defended Burfict, saying the punishment was "excessive." Carr referenced two other incidents in Week 4 — the Cleveland Browns' Odell Beckham Jr. and Baltimore Ravens' Marlon Humphrey scrapping, in which Humphrey appeared to choke Beckham, and New England Patriots cornerback Jonathan Jones hitting the Buffalo Bills' Josh Allen in the helmet and knocking Allen out of the game.

"We see other people choking people out, and they're going to play this Sunday," Carr said. "We see other people hitting people in the helmet, and they're going to play this Sunday. And Vontaze Burfict won't play the rest of the year? I think that's a little excessive if you ask me."

Carr defended Burfict's character, saying other people don't know Burfict.

"I don't think it's fair if we really got to know the guy. If the people making the decision really knew the guy that we know, inside our building," Carr said. He added: "He's a great person. His heart is broken because he's not playing football. The guy just wants to play football. We don't get a lot of time to play this game in our lives."

Carr called Burfict "one of the most misunderstood people in the NFL."

vontaze burfict 2
Vontze Burfict signed with the Raiders this past offseason.

Rick Scuteri/AP

Burfict signed with the Raiders this past offseason after seven seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals. During his time in Cincinnati, Burfict became a controversial player for several dirty hits and plays. One notable example was where he appeared to twist Cam Newton's ankle intentionally after tackles.

"I know the history situation and all that kind of stuff, but this one, especially with what went on during the week, if we're going to be fair, we need to be fair with everybody," Carr said.

ESPN's Dan Graziano said on "Get Up" that the league is at its "wit's end" with Burfict after having spoken to him about past plays and how he should be playing defense. Graziano said the suspension is also a message to other players about making similar types of hits.

Burfict is appealing the suspension, and there is a chance it is reduced.

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