Specifically, what if Burfict resorts to the ankle-twisting dirty play that the NFL frowned upon Wednesday with a $25,000 fine. Burfict was punished for his excessive twisting of ankles belonging to Carolina quarterback Cam Newton and tight end Greg Olsen on Sunday.
Newton and Olsen are recovering from ankle and foot injuries. Olsen made his disgust known on Twitter. Other NFL analysts weighed in, saying Burfict was obviously guilty of intentionally trying to injure opponents. While he wasn’t flagged on either play, the NFL reviewed the tape after the Panthers made a formal complaint and came down hard on the third-year linebacker, who had a team-high 171 tackles last season.
The Colts, of course, weren’t going to add any sizzle to the headlines about an opponent. Head coach Chuck Pagano and quarterback Andrew Luck deferred to what they’re concerned about — making sure a talented player gets blocked accordingly so he can’t make any plays.
“The guy plays extremely hard, he’s a really good football player, got a ton of respect for him,” Pagano said. “He’s tough, he’s hard-nosed, he’s downhill, he can run, he can cover. He’s everything you’d want in a linebacker. It’s our job just to make sure that we get a hat on him, we take care of him and we don’t let him wreck the game, because he’s more than capable of doing that, whether its 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.”
Luck said Colts players will ignore the hype about Burfict’s excessive behavior.
“To be honest, I don’t think our locker room is reading about it, talking about it,” the quarterback said. “We know him as a good football player.”
The AFC South-leading Colts (4-2) are more focused on extending a win streak to five games, and doing so against a playoff contender in the Bengals (3-1-1), who sit atop the AFC North.
Here’s the video responses of Pagano and Luck from Wednesday.
Phillip B. Wilson can be found on Twitter (@pwilson24), Facebook and Google+.