NFL notes: Vontaze isn't Burfict

Wide receiver Chad Ochocinco watches the morning practice session of the New England Patriots NFL...

Wide receiver Chad Ochocinco watches the morning practice session of the New England Patriots NFL training camp in Foxborough, Massachusetts July 29, 2011. (REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

BILL LANKHOF, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:22 PM ET

Arizona State linebacker Vontaze Burfict is a first round draft pick with a highlight reel of devastating hits.

On the other hand he might just not be worth the bother.

Burfict led the Sun Devils in tackles each of his last two seasons and earned second-team All-Pac 10 honours in 2010. He also has the temperament of a junk-yard dog.

“I’m a soft-spoken guy, shy sometimes, but on the field I just hate to lose and that aggression comes out,” said Burfict, who racked up 17 personal fouls in 35 games, including a pair in the regular season finale, getting him a seat on the bench for the second half.

Burfict has the worst case of the nasties outside of a Detroit Lions’ uniform. So, it makes perfect sense they’re one of the clubs who might be willing to overlook his flights onto the wild side. Like when he was benched for the team’s bowl game, or when he got into a locker room fight with a teammate.

Still Burfict realizes stupidity has its limits. Recently Bills’ veteran linebacker Nick Barnett, who has the same agent, has talked to him about keeping his emotions in check. “I’ve been helping him realize the game is bigger than him,” Barnett told Buffalobills.com. “You can’t let your emotions get in the way of the greater goal.”

Burfict’s tango with a teammate after practice illustrated the emotional volcano that might keep him from being drafted in the first round.

“It started in 7-on-7 and he was running a route and he hit me,” recalled Burfict. “We’re not supposed to hit each other in 7-on-7. He hit me and we had an argument and we took it into the locker room. We started chatting about it and he started rough housing me and he pushed me and my first instinct was to swing at him. Everybody thinks I’m a bad person, because my instinct was to swing at a guy.”

The Lions were one of several club’s to spend a lot of time with Burfict at the combine but a team can only have so many guys doing the Ndamukong Suh Stomp.

“The locker room fight I learned from it,” Burfict said. “This is a business now and there are things you cannot do in business. He (Barnett) is teaching me ... not do any of the dumb things that I did in college.

“I just want to let everyone know that I’m not the player they assume that I am. It’s the wrong picture.”

Wrong, perhaps. But also, it seems, an enduring, unchangeable picture.

A THICK-HEADED MOLK

If there is a better centre playing college football Michigan’s David Molk hasn’t seen him. Just ask him.

But first get some ear plugs.

Prior to the Scouting Combine, Molk said he would break the event’s all-time record in the bench press.

He didn’t.

That hasn’t discouraged him from making more noise than a rusty garden gate in a wind storm. Told by an AnnArbor.com reporter that not all draft analysts consider him No. 1, he said: “The fact they could consider any centre better than me is pretty stupid.”

Apparently there are a lot of stupid people around. Most draft analysts believe Wisconsin’s Peter Konz, who beat out Molk as an all-America in the vote by college coaches, is the top centre. Undeterred, Molk said “stuff like that pisses me off.”

Molk is also indignant that another Big Ten centre, Ohio State’s Mike Brewster, is ranked ahead of him in many draft rankings. “He is nowhere near me as a player,” Molk said.

That got Brewster all a-Twitter, shooting back: “If they are talking, then you are doing something right,” Brewster wrote. “And Molk, keep my name out of your mouth.”

As for calling analysts who don’t believe he’s No. 1 dumb, I guess if anyone would be an expert on thick-headed thinking, it might be Molk.

LESS PAY FOR OCHOCINCO

The Patriots have asked Chad Ochocinco to restructure his contract.

Figures.

Ochocinco had career lows in almost every department after being acquired in a trade from Cincinnati. He caught just 15 passes for 276 yards, hardly justifying base salaries of $3 million in each of the next two seasons.

This will come as a blow to Ochocinco’s ego, not to mention lifestyle. But if he won’t re-do his deal, it’s likely he’ll be cut before the 2012 season.

On the upside, he and Randy Moss could join Terrell Owens, on the same indoor league team — although it might be difficult to fit all those egos into just one indoor facility at the same time.

NICKS AND STONES

Carl Nicks is getting antsy. He will become very rich March 5 one way or another. Whether the Saints put the franchise tag on him, or let him become a free agent, Nicks will become one of football’s highest paid guards.

“Man I don’t know what to do? My anxiety is on a hundred thousand trillion!…march 5 is a big day!?” Nicks wrote on Twitter. When a fan wrote back that perhaps Nicks — rather than leave for free agent riches — should be grateful to the Saints for giving him an opportunity, he got persnickety. “4 years of busting my ass, no hold outs, no off the field distractions, a Super Bowl. I ain’t never forget but u might of!”

Wow. Touchy. All together now: “Nicks and stones may break some bones but names will never hurt.”

COWBOYS LIKE ROMO BETTER

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones may be one of the few people running an NFL team who doesn’t have any use for Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III.

According to the club’s website Jones has said he wouldn’t trade current quarterback Tony Romo in favour of either player.

“Every decision I’m making is about now,” Jones said. “I’m not interested in going in starting with a rookie quarterback or doing anything that might be better for us three, four years from now over any proven player that we’ve got.”

The Rams, who have second choice in the draft, are going to trade the pick. The only question is to whom. And, it looks like the Browns have the best shot at moving up to pick Griffin. They can offer two first round picks in a trade, including the fourth pick, which would give St. Louis — which is looking to upgrade its secondary – a shot at LSU’s Morris Claiborne, regarded as the top cornerback in the draft.

The Redskins are reported to also be offering a pair of first round picks in a package matching the compensation the Chargers got in 2004 for Eli Manning. If they miss out on Griffin, Washington is expected to take Texas A&M’s Ryan Tannehill and pair him with a veteran such as Kyle Orton.

In Dallas, meantime, the Jason Garrett-Romo marriage goes into its sixth season despite discouraging success in the playoffs. “Tony is going to play a lot more than two more years,” said the owner’s son and team vice president Stephen Jones, agreeing with his father’s assessment of Luck and Griffin III. “We are going to take care of Tony. Tony is going to be a Cowboy.”

Meantime, Stephen might want to take care of his father, and find out whether he’s been hit in the head once too often.


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