Bengals suspended LB Burfict off NFI, practices

Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict passed his physical and was removed from the non-football injury list Monday, clearing the way for him to practice for the first time this training camp.

The 27-year-old had been out with a hamstring issue suffered while training on his own before camp. He had been doing some conditioning work on an adjacent field since camp opened.

Burfict participated fully in the padded practice, although he said he still has significant work to do to get in football shape.

"It's not there yet," Burfict told reporters afterward. "I was running like what, five plays in a row? I mean, I hope I'm not running five plays. I kind of want to do three-and-out when I go out there."

Under new coordinator Teryl Austin, Burfict is learning a new system for the first time since he arrived in Cincinnati in 2012. Now with the Oakland Raiders, Paul Guenther was the coordinator from 2014-17 and ran a system largely in line with that of predecessor Mike Zimmer, who was the coordinator from 2008-13 before taking the Minnesota Vikings' head job.

"Today I didn't feel that comfortable and confident because it was my first day (in Austin's system)," Burfict said. "I didn't want to have too many mental errors. I didn't have any today."

Burfict will miss the first four games of the regular season for violating the NFL's performance-enhancing drug policy. He failed a drug test on Dec. 27.

He will miss the opener at Indianapolis, the home opener vs. division rival Baltimore, and two road games at Carolina and Atlanta. Burfict will be eligible to play in Week 5 when the Bengals host the Miami Dolphins on Oct. 7.

Burfict, who has 381 tackles, 8.5 sacks and five interceptions in his six seasons with Cincinnati, is eligible to play in the preseason, but the Bengals haven't decided if they will play him yet.

--Field Level Media