Cincinnati linebacker Vontaze Burfict has a reputation in the NFL after getting fined $25,000 for attempting to purposefully injure opponents. He burnished that perception early in the third quarter of the Steelers' 28-21 win over the Bengals on Sunday, appearing to throw an illegal elbow at Antonio Brown's head and shoulder as the All-Pro was gang tackled.
According to Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger, the dangerous elbow, which officials missed, led to a portentous threat on the very next play from scrimmage. “He hits A.B., then, literally, as I am under center for the next play, he points at JuJu and says, ‘You’re next,’ ” Roethlisberger said, by way of the Post-Gazette. “How do you allow that stuff?”
Video of the play appears to confirm Roethlisberger's account. You can clearly see Burfict, who is no stranger to on-field fiascos, pointing to Juju Smith-Shuster before the snap:
Juju had some good juju and went unharmed the rest of the day, and Brown later returned to the field. Despite the threat to his wideout, Roethlisberger delighted in driving Vontaze mad:
“I told Vontaze that my wife was praying for him,” Roethlisberger said. “He didn’t like that, either. He doesn’t like anything.”