We’ve known since March that linebacker Vontaze Burfict wouldn’t get to play meaningful football until at the very least this Sunday. Burfict’s four-game suspension for violating the league’s PED policy has now concluded and he’s fully back with the Bengals.
Something that we didn’t know was if Burfict was ready to get back on to the field after spending weeks away from it. In the past, Burfict has been known to report back to the team out of shape whether it was following injury or discipline from the league.
That doesn’t appear to be the case this time around, reports flooded out of Paul Brown Stadium today upon Burfict’s return:
Is Burfict in good shape and excited to be back with the team? Well Lewis told us he snuck up behind him on Monday and picked him up. Said he knew it could only be one person. “Time to wrestle with the bear again” #Bengals— Marisa Contipelli (@BengalsMarisa) October 3, 2018
His fellow teammates have taken notice as well:
Haven’t seen Burfict yet but Carlos Dunlap said he looks like he’s in great shape, Dre Kirkpatrick said same. Preston Brown still calls him “a little chubby” with a laugh but said he looks in as good of shape “as Tez can be.” #Bengals— Laurel Pfahler (@LaurelPfahler) October 3, 2018
Preston Brown on Burfict : "He's a little chubby on the side, but that's how Tez is, so he's going to be able to run fast and play physical like he always does. You can't really tell by how he looks, but we'll see how he does at practice."— Katherine Terrell (@Kat_Terrell) October 3, 2018
Burfict is dressed and taking part in practice, though it will be interesting to see how much work he gets in.
Burfict originally reported to training camp with a tight hamstring and was forced to sit out during the first week and a half before being activated off the Non-Football Injury list. He didn’t appear in any of the team’s preseason games and just a week after returning to practice he was sighted in a walking boot.
As it appears now, Burfict is fully healthy and just at the right time. The Bengals defense needs all the help it can get after allowing a whopping 113 points in the first four weeks without him patrolling the middle of the field. This is obviously great news but the question now is: how long will they get Burfict on the field before another injury or shenanigan takes him off of it?