(CBS San Francisco/CBS Local) — The Los Angeles Raiders beat the Indianapolis Colts to even out their record at 2-2. It was a strong offensive effort and a much needed win. Elsewhere in the AFC West, the Kansas City Chiefs squeaked past the Detroit Lions to continue their undefeated run, and the Los Angeles Chargers dumped 30 on the woeful Miami Dolphins to get the win. And, of course, the Broncos lost.
The Raiders, in all likelihood, will have to continue winning to have any hope of catching the Chiefs. And they’ll have to do it without middle linebacker and heavy hitter Vontaze Burfict.
Burfict was penalized for a helmet-to-helmet hit against Colts tight end Jack Doyle. Upon further review, he was ejected from the game. And the NFL has since suspended him for the remainder of the season and the playoffs without pay. The League referred to the hit as “unnecessary and flagrant” and referenced his “extensive history of rules violations.”
The Raiders linebacker is a tough player with a checkered past, which date back to various incidents throughout his seven years with the Cincinnati Bengals. “You take his [Vontaze Burfict]’s track record… It isn’t good,” notes Ray Lewis, Inside The NFL analyst and former NFL middle linebacker.
The League pays closer attention to player safety than it did in Lewis’s playing days. “Today, everything is being highlighted,” according to Lewis. “Any helmet-to-helmet contact is being highlighted. And then, to take his body and launch it the way he did… I did it many times. I’ve launched like that many times. But it was a different time.”
Whether the season suspension stands remains to be seen. Burfict can and likely will appeal the decision this week. But at question is the severity of the punishment, not whether or not the offense occurred. It clearly did. “I think a player like him [Burfict] has to understand… before he goes and does that,” says Lewis. “He has to say, ‘I’m the player that can’t do that again.’ And it happened.”
The Raiders play the Bears in London this Sunday @ 10 a.m. PT.
You can catch Ray Lewis, Phil Simms and host James Brown when Inside The NFL airs tonight at 9 p.m. Pacific Time on Showtime.