INDIANAPOLIS – For a moment-just a brief one-it seemed as if Wrestlemania may have found a place at Paul Brown Stadium.
That might be a bit of an exaggeration, but really the move that Vontaze Burfict is accused of trying on his opponents last Sunday represents something WWE fans might have seen out of Kurt Angle in his heyday.
One two separate occasions against the Panthers on Sunday, the Bengals linebacker was accused of trying to twist the ankles of quarterback Cam Newton and tight end Greg Olson. Replays from Fox Sports cameras seem to show Burfict trying to twist the ankles of both players as they were going down for tackles.
At least the NFL believed it to be so, fining the linebacker 25-thousand dollars yet choosing not to suspend him for the Bengals game with Colts on Sunday.
So do the Colts dare leave their ankles exposed hen Burfict is around? Indications are they won’t be that paranoid.
“Yeah, to be honest I don’t think our locker room has been reading about it, talking about it,” said Luck about Burfict. “We know him as a good football player and the other stuff I guess takes care of itself.”
When asked if Burfict’s recent actions would be a bit of a problem for the Colts’ offensive players this Sunday, Chuck Pagano almost completely dismissed the notion. The coach focused completely on his impact for Cincinnati on the field and not the opposing team’s feet.
“It’s our job just to make sure we get a hat him, we take care of him and we don’t let him wreck the game” said Pagano of Burfict. “Because he’s more than capable of doing that whether it’s sideline to sideline playing the run, playing the pass, blitzing, whatever it is. He’s a great player.
“So I’m not worried about any of that stuff. I’m just worried about trying to get him blocked.”
Burfict landed on a number of Bengals’ opponent’s radars after a solid 2013 campaign-his second in pro football. The linebacker accumulated 171 tackles that included a sack, two forced fumbles and an interception. Against the Colts last season-a 42-28 win by Cincinnati- Burfict had eight tackles and a pass deflection.
What’s on most people’s minds, however, were the wrestling moves he pulled off against the Panthers. But for Luck, who’ll likely see him Burfict a lot on Sunday, that’s not an issue.
“So yeah, ignore it I guess would be the sense,” said Luck “He’s a heck of a football player, obviously you respect that aspect of it, but everything else is sort of not our deal.”
Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis hopes it’s not for Burfict in the future either, encouraging the young linebacker to eliminate these transgressions from his game now and forever.
“He just needs to play football. That’s our message to everyone–just play football and continue to play within the rules, because the rules are what they are,” said Lewis. “We don’t need anything extra at any point any time from anyone.”
The Colts aren’t expecting him to on this Sunday.