Vontaze Burfict’s reputation proceeds him, and according to the Bengals linebacker, that’s why he’s being unfairly targeted by game officials.

It’s not so much that the officials are throwing an inordinate number of flags his way, it’s that they are provoking him into reacting in a certain way.

If, in fact, that’s the officials’ tactic, it worked Sunday, when Burfict got the boot from Cincinnati’s 24-20 loss at Tennessee for making contact with down judge Jeff Bergman.

Before we accuse Burfict of crying victim, let’s consider that ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported earlier this week that officials are indeed interacting in such a way with the player.

"The refs, they come up to me, talking to me disrespectfully, wanting me to curse back at them, but me cursing back at them isn't going to help me," Burfict said Friday, per ESPN.