Players call for Burfict suspension after hit on AB

Players call for Burfict suspension after hit on AB

PITTSBURGH — Multiple Pittsburgh Steelers players spoke out strongly against Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict for his elbow to Antonio Brown‘s head in the third quarter of Pittsburgh’s 28-21 win on Sunday.

Right tackle Marcus Gilbert says Burfict should be suspended for the play.

“That’s pathetic. The NFL has to do something about that,” Gilbert said. “A guy like that, going out there intentionally trying to hurt people, there’s no need for that kind of playing in this league. It’s sad. One of these days he’ll grow up.”

Brown caught a pass over the middle and was tackled by two Bengals defenders when Burfict flew in with his right elbow, connecting with Brown’s upper body/head area. Brown was down on the turf for a few seconds and got evaluated by the team on the sideline before re-entering the game.

Brown finished with a 31-yard, game-winning touchdown with 10 seconds left.

After the game, Brown called the play a “nasty hit.”

“Thank God I was able to come back in the game to finish the game,” he said.

Burfict has a long history of egregious hits, fines and suspensions since entering the league in 2012. He served a four-game suspension to start the 2018 season for violation of the league’s substance abuse policy. Burfict hasn’t played more than 11 games in a year since 2013.

During the 2015 season, Burfict had a hand in injuring the Steelers’ three best offensive players — Brown, Le’Veon Bell and Ben Roethlisberger — with questionable play.

The league has emphasized protecting quarterbacks with revised roughing the passer calls, but guard David DeCastro would like to see receivers protected as well.

“It’s tough to see AB get hit like that,” he said. “With all the emphasis on quarterback safety, what about a guy like AB — a superstar he is in this league, how much money he’s getting paid, how much he means to this team? A cheap shot like that, I thought was unnecessary. … If they want to talk about making this game safer, maybe they will do something. Or maybe they will put in a new rule that no one is going to call when it matters. Maybe it’s a PR stunt.”

Steelers players consistently praise Burfict’s ability as a player, but wish he would tone down the viciousness.

“He’s hurting his team,” Gilbert said. “It could have been a costly penalty right there. Who knows? He should be suspended for that hit. We’ll see. But he’s too good of a football player to be missing games like that.”

Lewis back with Ravens day after neck injury

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Baltimore Ravens guard Alex Lewis was at the team facility a day after being carted off the field with a neck injury and possibly could play in Sunday’s game against the New Orleans Saints.

“It looks good,” coach John Harbaugh said Monday. “There is no serious injury there in terms of neural-type issues. He’s possible for this week. We’ll have to see as the week progresses and they continue with the tests. That could change at any time.”

Lewis, a second-year starter, was injured on a run-blocking play where he collided with a Tennessee Titans defender and his head snapped back. After standing still for a few seconds, he dropped to his knee and then collapsed on his back.

He was carted off the field in a stretcher with 13 minutes, 58 seconds left in Baltimore’s 21-0 win in Tennessee. Lewis was able to move all of his extremities before being placed in the ambulance.

About an hour after the game ended, Lewis was released from the hospital and returned to Baltimore on the Ravens’ charter flight.

“It’s always tough,” quarterback Joe Flacco said. “It’s part of this game. I’ve said it before, that’s what makes this game a little bit different.”

If Lewis is sidelined Sunday, rookie sixth-round pick Bradley Bozeman would replace him in the starting lineup.

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“I think this moment of time we’re in is very different,” Gillibrand said on “The View” in January. “I don’t think we had the same conversation back then, the same lens, we didn’t hold people accountable in the same way that this moment is demanding today. And I think all of us — or many of us — didn’t have that same lens, myself included.”