INDIANAPOLIS – Vontaze Burfict just met with the media, and the session needed Eric Burton in the background singing “Oh Lord, don’t let me be misunderstood.”
The Arizona State linebacker arrived at the NFL Scouting Combine with more baggage than a runway full of Supermodels. Too many personal fouls. Too many pounds last season. Too much temper during a practice-field incident with a teammate that spilled over to the locker room.
Burfict is here to let everyone know that he’s not a bad guy, and also show that he’s “the best linebacker in the draft,” as he put it.
To completely display the second, he has to totally dispel the first.
“I just want to let the press know that I am not the guy everyone assumed I am. It’s the wrong picture,” Burfict said when asked what he wants to accomplish here.
What about the teams? “Nah, I’m pretty sure the teams know who I am,” he said.
Still, the bad pub is out there. He’s what Pro Football Weekly has to say about Burfict in its Draft Guide: “A very inconsistent, undisciplined, overly emotional, locker-room lawyer and divisive, energy-draining field force. Has superstar-type talent and a second-tier-free-agent-level quality, coach-killing makeup that will drive down his value. Needs a strong, vet locker room.”
“I’m a soft-spoken guy, shy sometimes,” he said when asked who the real Vontaze Burfict is.
As for the wake of negativity that followed him here, Burfict offered, “I’m not really concerned about that. I just know I’m the best linebacker in the draft.”