The hatred that the Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers have for each other bubbled over in each of the teams' three meetings this past season, and Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict was at the center of much of the tension.
So it probably comes as a surprise to learn that he actually does have some level of respect for his division rivals -- in the video game world, at least.
Burfict tweeted his admiration Tuesday for the version of the Steelers presented in the Madden video game franchise.
— Vontaze Burfict (@King55Tez) January 26, 2016
Burfict's tweet was directed at fellow Bengals linebacker Marquis Flowers, who responded with a tweet of his own, saying, "You crazy as hell bruh."
At the end of Cincinnati's wild-card round playoff game against Pittsburgh earlier this month, Burfict was flagged for hitting receiver Antonio Brown in the head with his shoulder pads after Brown couldn't catch a high throw. The play left Brown with a concussion, and he wasn't able to recover from it in time for the Steelers' divisional-round game against Denver the following week.
Burfict's hit on Brown led the NFL to suspend him for the first three games of the 2016 season. The league considered it the latest incident in a string of player-safety violations on his part. He is appealing. The linebacker also was fined nearly $70,000 in the Steelers-Bengals regular-season meeting in December.
Appearing in 10 games in 2015, Burfict had 74 tackles and intercepted two passes.