With a rumored contract agreement and a "stomach bug" that's wiped out three straight practices, Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict may sit during his homecoming in Arizona when Cincinnati plays the Cardinals on NBC's Sunday Night Football.
Replacing him could be second-year linebacker Sean Porter -- a 2013 fourth-round pick who missed his entire rookie season with a torn labrum. Porter played all four seasons at Texas A&M, posting 14.5 quarterback sacks with 9.5 during his junior year, and 34.5 tackles for loss.
"With Vontaze being sick this week it’s been a great opportunity for Sean because I made them put Sean in at Vontaze’s spot with the first group," Lewis said via Bengals.com. "If we were playing real games, it may be not what we would do, but we can afford to do it right now. And I want to see him do it because he keeps growing. The light’s on. You can see the smile…. He needs to have positive things happen to him. "
When the Bengals drafted him, Lewis said that Porter has "great athleticism. He has played inside and outside. He can run and cover. He's similar to Thomas Howard."
Then linebackers coach, and now defensive coordinator, Paul Guenther added that, "he a good cover guy. He offers a lot at the table as far as the different things he can do for us."
Unfortunately, injury derailed his growth during an August 12 practice. Now, like most players facing unfortunate and unlucky circumstances just wanting to prove themselves, Porter could have a significant opportunity to claim a spot on the team's 53-man roster. Then again, based on Lewis' comments from Friday afternoon, I'm not sure that won't be a problem.