Vontaze Burfict healthy, ready to lead Bengals into battle

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Nov 20, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals outside linebacker Vontaze Burfict (55) against the Buffalo Bills at Paul Brown Stadium. The Bills won 16-12. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 20, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals outside linebacker Vontaze Burfict (55) against the Buffalo Bills at Paul Brown Stadium. The Bills won 16-12. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /
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Vontaze Burfict is having a dynamic offseason and seems ready for battle. The Bengals will need his fire to get the season going.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been five years. In 2012, the Bengals acquired the services of Vontaze Burfict and things haven’t been the same for the Cincinnati defense. His presence has lifted the defense to another level and help put a collective chip on their shoulders. His tenacious style has gotten him tons of enemies and even more fans. But, regardless of anyone’s stance on Taz, his health is on point and he’s ready to be the leader the Bengals need.

Call him reckless, wild, whatever you want. Burfict has gotten results over his career with the Bengals. Need that fiery attitude? He’s the man for the cause. Looking for that timely tackle or sack (think Ben Roethlisberger in the 2015 Wild Card game)? Who ya gonna call? The Taz-manian devil.

Injuries have been a key factor in Burfict’s return to stable health. But, the 2016 offseason has been productive for the six-year linebacker. Last season, Vontaze and former teammate Rey Maualuga showed up for OTAs in poor condition. Since that time, Burfict has made strides that should be enough to silence his critics. According to Pro Football Focus, over the last 10 games of 2016, Mr. Burfict was the best of the best.

That’s right. Read it and weep. Luke Kuechly graded out at 87.4 while Burfict the Beast landed on top of the heap with a 93.7 mark. Some will say it’s apples to oranges and the subtle difference between a B and an A. But, the facts stand. Taz took care of business and was overlooked. Once again, another Bengals standout gets the cold shoulder.

Ready? Yeah…He’s Ready 

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Fans gasped when Burfict went down with a knee injury and underwent surgery during the 2014 campaign. He missed the first six games of the miraculous 2015 year and played against the Steelers in Week 8. Despite having to literally play himself into shape, Burfict had an awesome game.

Last season, a nagging foot injury slowed him down. But, after serving a three-game suspension, Vontaze returned against the Miami Dolphins on Thursday Night Football. He looked winded on more than a few plays. But, his passion ignited the defense to play its best game of the young season.

Now, with time to heal and a nutritious eating routine, Burfict is ready to lead the Bengals into 2017.

"“This offseason I was able to focus on all the little muscles in my body,” Burfict explained via The Cincinnati Enquirer. “Conditioning and doing all types of yogas and stuff like that. I feel great. I came in in great shape and I’m just here to try and lead the team.”"

Next: R-E-S-P-E-C-T

If Burfict keeps the momentum going from the end of last year, the Bengals’ defense will be rocking. With the offense finding its way with new weapons, the D will have to be ready to pull the load.

Looks like their WILL linebacker is ready to go.

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