For the second year in a row, the NFL suspended linebacker Vontaze Burfict to open the regular season for violating the league’s rules about on-field safety but that doesn’t appear to be threatening his future with the Bengals.
Josina Anderson of ESPN reports that the Bengals have been talking to Burfict about a contact extension that would keep him in Cincinnati beyond the 2017 season. Burfict is in the final year of the four-year, $20 million contract he signed with the team in 2014.
That interest might not exist if the Bengals thought Burfict was too much of a loose cannon on the field, but coach Marvin Lewis has been adamant that Burfict has changed the way he plays to conform to the rules and that the hit on Chiefs fullback Anthony Sherman that led to the latest suspension was not one that should have been penalized.
While the suspensions and injuries have kept Burfict off the field at times, his tackling has made him a key part of their defense since joining the team in 2012 and will only be turning 27 this month. That’s why the Bengals wouldn’t want to see him walk away once this year is over even if he’ll be getting off to a delayed start.