Burfict finally passed his physical and doesn’t want to sit out any longer. He wants to get serious reps in the preseason games for the Bengals.
Linebacker Vontaze Burfict had been sitting out for most of Bengals training camp with a hamstring injury, but has finally passed his physical. Although missing camp for Burfict isn’t a huge deal, it’s a good way to get into playing shape. Obviously, Burfict getting back to full health is great news for the team, but some interesting news accompanied this as well.
Burfict announced that he wanted to play in some preseason games before the start of the season. The Bengals may have planned on playing him some snaps in the preseason anyway, but it was still interesting to see Burfict throw his full support towards playing.
Why this decision is so unique is because of Burfict’s situation. He’s an established veteran, so he has a firm grasp on the system and the players around him. Burfict also struggles with injuries, as he usually gets nicked up during the year. Sitting out the preseason in addition to his four game suspension could be a good way to sneak in some extra rest. However, the Bengals seem to want to make sure he’s ready for the 2018 season by getting him some snaps.
Regardless of the decision’s rationale, it’s great to see Burfict care so much about the growth of this team. In his first day back, Burfict had glowing remarks about the Bengals’ defense, saying it was the best Bengals defense he has seen yet. He also seems to be taking a real leadership role on the team. When Burfict is not playing in the preseason games, he wants to be on the sideline, coaching up the young guys on defense. It’s basically impossible to knock Burfict for not having a real commitment to the Bengals.
From the Bengals point of view, they believe that Burfict is just one notch away from being ready to go. According to linebackers coach Jim Haslett, Burfict still has all his skills, but just needs a little playing time.
"“He looked like Tez. He’s not ready to play a game. He’s seeing things and reacting. He’s a good player. All that is still there. He’s in better [shape] than you would think. This guy is a good player. He’ll get his reps.”"
Come the game against the Bears, Burfict probably won’t play much. But watch for him to get some playing time in the later weeks. If he looks like Burfict again, the Bengals will probably have made the right decision by playing him in the preseason.