Burfict back for Bengals after serving suspension

Published: Wednesday, October 03, 2018 @ 12:50 PM
Updated: Wednesday, October 03, 2018 @ 3:07 PM


            CINCINNATI, OH - OCTOBER 8: Vontaze Burfict #55 of the Cincinnati Bengals and Pat Sims #92 of the Cincinnati Bengals attempt to tackle LeSean McCoy #25 of the Buffalo Bills during the third quarter at Paul Brown Stadium on October 8, 2017 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - OCTOBER 8: Vontaze Burfict #55 of the Cincinnati Bengals and Pat Sims #92 of the Cincinnati Bengals attempt to tackle LeSean McCoy #25 of the Buffalo Bills during the third quarter at Paul Brown Stadium on October 8, 2017 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis said he still needs to see what kind of shape Vontaze Burfict is in before determining whether he can make an impact Sunday against the Miami Dolphins.

Burfict is coming off a four-week suspension, and in past situations where the veteran linebacker missed time, he jumped right into action; however, this time he also is working back from an ankle injury that limited him in the preseason. He did not appear in any preseason games, and the Bengals were not allowed to contact him during his suspension, so Lewis is unsure how much of his rehab work Burfict actually did.

Defensive end Carlos Dunlap and cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick said Burfict looks like he is in “great shape,” while linebacker Preston Brown was a little more harsh, calling him “still a little chubby” but noting “Tez looks in “as good of shape as Tez can be.”

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Burfict, who was suspended for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy, was not available during the open locker room period for media Wednesday morning. The team is scheduled to practice this afternoon. Cincinnati announced Monday that Burfict was granted a one-week roster exemption set to expire Oct. 8.

The Bengals also could be getting running back Joe Mixon back from a knee injury that has sidelined him the past two games. He said he is still waiting to be cleared but Lewis seemed hopeful that would happen.

When asked what the forecast for Mixon is this week, Lewis said, “It’s sunny.”

Mixon guaranteed he would be back next week for Pittsburgh, which was also center Billy Price’s target return date before an evaluation this week pushed his timetable back. Price’s foot remains in a boot, and he said although he feels no pain, the trainees are being cautious with him. He will be checked out again in two weeks.

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