On Thursday, Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict was activated to the 53-man roster after serving his three-game suspension. In order to make room for Burfict, linebacker Trevor Roach was waived.
Burfict, who is in his fifth year in the NFL, is now eligible to play Thursday night against the Miami Dolphins. Burfict had been taking part in team activities since Monday on a roster exemption. The team had three days to decide which player they wanted to release to make room for Burfict, and Roach is the casualty.
After opening the 2015 season on PUP and missing the first six games, Burfict went on to register 74 tackles, five pass deflections and two interceptions while helping Cincinnati notch 12 wins and an AFC North crown. In his first game back in 2015, a Week 8 matchup in Pittsburgh, Burfict played 36 snaps, or 48 percent of all defensive snaps and had five tackles.
However, multiple safety violations as the year progressed led to Burfict being suspended for the first three games of 2016. During that time, Burfict was barred from the team for the first three weeks of the regular season.
He also missed a lot of offseason workouts and practice, and opened training camp on the Non-Football Injury list with a foot injury. But Burfict returned to get a good amount of work in before the regular season opened and his suspension began.
While this week was the first time Burfict was able to practice with his team in almost a month, the team is still expected to play him significant snaps tonight, though it probably won’t be a full workload with this being a short week.
As for Roach, he made the final 53-man roster this year in large part because of Burfict’s suspension. He was moved from the practice squad to the final roster late last season when Emmanuel Lamur went down with a knee injury in Week 17, but because he has only appeared in four NFL games, Roach is still eligible to be signed to the Bengals’ practice squad.
That move likely cannot come until Friday though, as he’ll need to clear waivers, but in the meantime, all the focus is on Burfict and the Bengals looking to end a two-game skid tonight when the Dolphins come to town.