One of the reasons why linebacker Vontaze Burfict went undrafted last year was his habit of drawing flags for personal fouls.
Burfict picked up an alarming 16 personal fouls in his final 26 games at Arizona State, but overzealousness wasn’t a problem for him after signing with the Bengals as an undrafted free agent last year. He picked up one unnecessary roughness penalty while playing every game for Cincinnati and developing into a worthy starter on their defense.
While it wasn’t a problem last year, coach Marvin Lewis still is careful to make sure that Burfict knows when his aggressiveness comes close to crossing the line. Lewis chewed out Burfict after a play at one of the team’s joint practices with the Falcons that saw the linebacker jump on Falcons running back Steven Jackson’s back in a manner that touched off a brief altercation between the two players.
“I told him if he did that to me what he did to Steven, I would have hit him with a two by four,” Lewis said, via the Bengals website. “Steven should have gotten him in his sleep last night.”
Burfict said he felt he controlled himself in a confrontation he thinks was caused by Jackson’s running style, but Lewis obviously felt there was still value in offering a reminder that Burfict can’t stop doing what he did to overcome his draft day nightmare now that he’s established that he can be a productive NFL player.