When linebacker Vontaze Burfict went undrafted in 2012, it looked like his once-promising career wouldn’t wind up amounting to anything all that special.
Appearances can be deceiving. Burfict signed with the Bengals, won a starting job as a rookie and has raised his game to an even higher level in his second season. Last Sunday’s victory over the Browns saw Burfict at his best and he’s been named the AFC defensive player of the week as a result.
Burfict had 15 tackles, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and a pass breakup during Cincinnati’s 41-20 win in the latest installment in the Battle of Ohio. Burfict’s biggest play of the day came when he knocked the ball loose from Browns running back Chris Ogbonnaya after a completed pass and then scooped the ball up for a 13-yard touchdown return.
The only blemish on the day came when Burfict was flagged for unnecessary roughness in the first quarter. Burfict has been fined several times this year for other personal fouls and his penchant for those costly penalties remains the one negative from his collegiate days to extend to his professional career.