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The Oakland Raiders announced the signing of former Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict on Tuesday night, reuniting him with defensive coordinator Paul Guenther.
Burfict, a controversial player who has accumulated $4,150,000 in fines and forfeited salary during his seven-year NFL career, was released by the Bengals on Monday. Guenther coached Burfict in Cincinnati from 2012-17.
The linebacker has long been accused of being a dirty player, and has been involved in several high-profile incidents during his career. One of the most notable incidents was a helmet-to-helmet hit on former Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Antonio Brown, who will be one of Burfict’s Raiders teammates in 2019.
During the final seconds of a 2015 wild-card game, Burfict lowered his head and hit a defenseless Brown over the middle of the field, drawing a 15-yard penalty that helped set up the Steelers’ eventual game-winning field goal.
Brown sustained a concussion on the play and was forced to miss the Steelers’ next playoff game against the Denver Broncos. The Steelers lost to the Broncos 23-16, and were eliminated from the postseason.
Burfict downplayed the incident on Tuesday night, stating, “There’s nothing negative here. We’re on the same team. We’re trying to win a championship here.”
The linebacker also defended his controversial playing style.
“No, I’m not a dirty player,” he said. “I play a physical position, which is middle linebacker, outside linebacker. And I can’t go in there playing patty cake.”
Brown, who was traded to the Raiders last week, took to Twitter to say that he talked to Burfict.
“Just talked [to Burfict] black and silver baby,” the receiver tweeted. “#RaiderNation #BullySeason.”
Still, the acquisition didn’t stop NFL fans from clamoring for the Raiders to be featured on HBO’s “Hard Knocks” this season. The Raiders are one of five teams that can be forced to be on the show since they do not have a first-year head coach and missed the postseason in 2018.
“If the Raiders aren’t on ‘Hard Knocks’ this year, HBO let us all down,” NFL analyst Benjamin Albright tweeted.
“Raiders are the perfect team for Hard Knocks, and they are one of five teams that can NOT say no if HBO approaches them,” fan account NFL Update tweeted. “Gruden, Mayock, Carr, AB, Burfict, 3 first-round rookies, I can go on and on.”
Other Twitter users inserted GIFs and videos of how they thought Burfict and Brown’s first meeting as teammates would go.
Click through the slideshow above to see reactions to the Raiders signing Vontaze Burfict.
This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/raiders/article/Vontaze-Burfict-Raiders-Antonio-Brown-hit-Bengals-13701680.php.