LONDON — More than anyone with the Raiders, Paul Guenther knows Vontaze Burfict.
More than anyone, Guenther hopes the middle linebacker who has been suspended for the season pending appeal isn’t being singled out for sins the team’s defensive coordinator sees weekly in the NFL.
“I just hope it’s not a bunch of cops looking for this (one) guy going 38 mph in a 30 mph zone,” Guenther said Thursday. “I know (Burfict) has been warned about this stuff, but I saw a quarterback get knocked out of a game the other day, helmet-to-helmet, and the guy doesn’t get ejected.
“I saw the opening kickoff for the Eagles-Lions game, the right guard, helmet-to-helmet shot, knocks the guy out and stands over him. I saw a guy on the Eagles-Packers game, the first play of the game, the defensive tackle helmet-to-helmet, nothing happens.
“I just hope moving forward with the decision that the league is going to make on him, that they are just being fair to the kid.”
Burfict was ejected from Sunday’s victory at Indianapolis after initiating a helmet-to-helmet hit on defenseless tight end Jack Doyle.
The league announced his season-long suspension the following day.
His appeal will reportedly be heard Tuesday.
The Raiders next meet Chicago on Sunday at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, where Burfict’s absence and assorted injuries have left Oakland pencil-thin at linebacker.
Burfict has been suspended three times and fined 11 times for on-field incidents during his eight-year NFL career. He has also been suspended once for violating the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances.
Guenther was Burfict’s linebackers coach and defensive coordinator for six of the player’s seven seasons in Cincinnati.
“(Head Coach) Jon (Gruden) and I teach fundamentals,” Guenther said. “We teach proper tackling techniques, all that stuff. We teach it all the time, how to tackle, how to keep the head out, we harp it to all of our guys.”
A bad knee?
Defensive end Benson Mayowa was in’sctive for the 31-24 win at Indianapolis, something he voiced displeasure about with a tweet saying, “I control what I can control I’m ready to make plays, but u cannot believe everything u read!”
Mayowa led the Raiders in sacks with 3½ through three games and was just one of three Raiders to record a sack prior to Week 4.
“Benson was dealing with a little something with his knee,” Guenther said. “He had a little bone bruise on his knee, so he didn’t practice throughout the course of the week. So it’s just a matter of getting (Mayowa) rest and making sure he was ready to go.”
Which still doesn’t explain the tweet.
Wide receiver Tyrell Williams (foot) and defensive lineman Clelin Ferrell (concussion) haven’t practiced since the team arrived in London. Also, wide receiver J.J. Nelson (knee) was limited Thursday after being inactive in Week 4. Wide receiver/return specialist Dwayne Harris (ankle) sat out after being a limited participant earlier in the week.
Guenther said a decision on Nevin Lawson’s role for Sunday hasn’t been decided. The cornerback’s four-game suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy ended with the Colts game, and he has practiced all week.