Vontaze Burfict will probably be on a snap count Thursday night when he returns from his three-game suspension, but Bengals coach Marvin Lewis says that the inside linebacker will get on the field.
“We’d have to lock him in a trunk if he didn’t play, so yeah, Vontaze will play tonight,” Lewis said on SiriusXM NFL Radio via NFL.com.
Burfict was suspended three games for repeated violations of player safety guidelines, most notably a helmet-to-helmet hit that knocked Antonio Brown out of last season’s AFC wild-card game game was well as the Steelers’ divisional round game the following week.
The Bengals were penalized 15 yards for that hit and it helped set up the Steelers’ game-winning field goal. As costly as Burfict’s style of play was in the playoffs, his rough edge might be part of what’s missing this year for the Bengals (1-2). On one hand they’ve had a brutal schedule, opening with the Jets and Steelers on the road then hosting the Super Bowl champions. On the other hand, they’re one point away from being winless.
Cincinnati has allowed 3.3 fewer points per game since 2014 when Burfict plays, and his menacing presence won’t make things any easier Thursday night for a 1-2 Dolphins team that played six extra minutes of football Sunday and is traveling on a short week.