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Bengals medically clear LB Vontaze Burfict, activate him off of NFI list

The Bengals get Burfict back ahead of their preseason opener.

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals-Training Camp Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Bengals have cleared Vontaze Burfict to practice after he passed his physical on Monday.

That means Burfict is now off the Active/Non-Football Injury list, which he was placed on right before the start of training camp. With this news, no more Bengals are on the PUP/NFI lists.

Burfict, who was reportedly dealing with a tight hamstring, is already set to serve a four-game suspension to open the 2018 season due to a PED violation. It will be the third-straight season in which Burfict has been suspended to start the season, though the previous two were for player-safety violations in 2016 and 2017.

Between injuries and suspensions, Burfict has missed 28 regular-season games since 2014. 11 of those came in 2014 when he was sidelined with concussions and a knee injury that led to microfracture surgery. That led to him opening 2015 on PUP and missing the first six games.

Now that Burfict is cleared to practice, he could dress for Thursday’s preseason opener vs the Chicago Bears. However, we should probably expect to see him not play, giving other linebackers more time to showcase their talents and fight for a spot on the 53-man roster.

Guys like Chris Worley, Brandon Bell, Hardy Nickerson and Jordan Evans need to get as many preseason snaps as possible. One or more of them could also be getting more snaps that Burfict would normally get, so the Bengals need to know which of them they can rely on more while Burfict is suspended.