Wide receiver Antonio Brown and linebacker Vontaze Burfict as teammates? It’s the latest version of the Killer B’s, this time via the Oakland Raiders.
NFL free agency can create the strangest of bedfellows. And there may be no better example of that this year than the always-interesting Oakland Raiders. A club looking to bounce back from another subpar showing and a franchise that has reached the playoffs only once since 2003 has not only opened its checkbook but its mind to what some may have thought the impossible.
This offseason, the club made tackle Trent Brown the highest paid offensive lineman in NFL history (via ESPN’s Adam Schefter). The Super Bowl LIII champion with the New England Patriots will be playing for his third team in as many seasons. He inked a four-year, $66 million deal with the Silver and Black. The Raiders also shelled out big money to wide receiver Antonio Brown after acquiring him for a third- and fifth-round draft choice from the Pittsburgh Steelers earlier this month.
But now comes the news that the team has also brought in controversial linebacker Vontaze Burfict, cast aside by the Cincinnati Bengals and now back with his former defensive coordinator in Paul Guenther. But there’s another reunion of sorts here as well, one that may not be so positive — especially if you’re Antonio Brown.
Go back to the 2015 AFC Wild Card Playoffs at Paul Brown Stadium. Late in the fourth quarter, the Steelers wideout took a blow to the head from Burfict. It resulted in a 15-yard penalty. Another was tacked on thanks to the actions of cornerback Adam Jones. It led to Pittsburgh pulling out an 18-16 win via a late field goal.
This past season in Week 6, the Bengals linebacker struck again. Brown was hit in the helmet by Bengals’ safety Jessie Bates, before Burfict added a little extra via his forearm.
Via conference all on Tuesday (transcript by ESPN), the high-octane defender had this to say about his relationship with the seven-time Pro Bowler and former division rival:
“We’re on the same team. It’s one goal. It’s all positive, man. He’s a great player … I’m going to approach him just like I do all my other teammates …
“There’s nothing negative here. We’re on the same team. We’re trying to win a championship here. Honestly, we might be the closest friends on the team, you know what I mean? So, just got to go along with it, and I can’t wait to meet him.”
The Oakland Raiders have sunk big money into a four-year tackle as well as one of the best wide receivers in the game. They are also taking a chance on a player that has been suspended and fined for various violations far too many times. So with all this risk, will head coach Jon Gruden and company get all A’s for this group of “Killer B’s?” Let the saga begin.