One of the Bengals’ defensive starters was back on the practice field Friday.
Weak-side linebacker Vontaze Burfict (concussion) returned to practice two days before the Bengals host the Ravens in Sunday’s regular-season finale, Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com reported this morning.
A second-year pro from Arizona State, Burfict has been a productive, physical, tone-setting presence for the Bengals’ defense. He leads the NFL with 157 tackles.
While Burfict could now be on track to play Sunday, the statuses of tight ends Jermaine Gresham (hamstring) and Tyler Eifert (neck) are a little more in doubt. Neither Gresham nor Eifert was present early at practice, Hobson reported. Eifert hasn’t practiced all week, while Gresham didn’t practice on Thursday.
Alex Smith and Orson Charles would be the Bengals’ primary tight ends if Gresham and Eifert were to sit out Sunday.
The AFC North-champion Bengals can earn a first-round bye with a win vs. Baltimore and a New England loss to Buffalo.