Vontaze Burfict will get preseason reps before serving his suspension

AP

Vontaze Burfict returned to practice Monday, his hamstring healed, but the Bengals linebacker needs some time before playing in the preseason.

Burfict will play in the preseason.

He needs reps before serving a four-game suspension for violating the league’s performance enhancing drug policy.

“I would say it’s important just to be out there with my teammates,” Burfict said, via Geoff Hobson of the team website. “Even when I’m not out there I’m going to be on the sideline, being a coach for some of the young guys. But it is important for me to play, but I’m pretty sure the Bengals and Mr. [Mike] Brown will make sure I’m ready to go before I get out there and not hurt anything.”

Burfict is only two pounds off his playing weight, according to linebackers coach Jim Haslett, but he still needs to get into playing shape.

“There are not too many guys that have been around that don’t need a lot of reps. He’s one of them,” Haslett said. “He looked like Tez. He’s not ready to play a game. He’s seeing things and reacting. He’s a good player. All that is still there. He’s in better [shape] than you would think. This guy is a good player. He’ll get his reps.”