Burfict is out in 2015 to regain his 2013 Pro Bowl form, after having his 2014 campaign derailed by injuries ... Led Bengals in tackles in each of his first two pro seasons (2012-13) ... Placed Dec. 9 of last season on Reserve/Injured list, part of continuing rehab from knee injury suffered Oct. 26 vs. Baltimore ... Missed time due to concussions, and also to a cervical strain, prior to the knee injury ... Signed contract extension through 2017 on Aug. 27 ... Led 2013 Bengals in tackles by margin of 94 and earned an AFC Defensive Player of the Week award for his performance in Week 11 vs. Cleveland ... Credited by coaches for exceptional natural football instincts and field awareness ... Undrafted out of Arizona State in 2012, he signed with Bengals as a college free agent and quickly validated previous projections that he would be a first-round choice, disproving later reports that he was undisciplined and out of shape ... In addition to 2013 season Pro Bowl nod, he was named to second-team Associated Press All-Pro spot.
Career transactions: Signed with Cincinnati as college free agent on 5-2-12 ... Signed contract extension with Bengals on 8-27-14.
Pro Bowl participation: Made Pro Bowl debut in the 2013 season contest, starting for victorious Team Rice ... Finished second on team in tackles (five) and intercepted an Andrew Luck pass at Team Sanders 27 in first quarter.
2014 highlights: Started at WLB for Games 1-2 and 5-7 ... Inactive (concussion) for Games 3-4 and Games 8-13 (knee) ... Sidelined early by concussions in both Game 1 and Game 2 ... Sidelined early in Game 6 due to a cervical strain ... Placed on Reserve/Injured list on Dec. 9, due to knee injury rehab ... For the season, logged 29 tackles (two for loss), a forced fumble, a fumble recovery two passes defensed and two QB hits ... On Sept. 7 at Baltimore, helped seal Bengals’ first-half dominance by forcing a Bernard Pierce fumble and recovering it at Ravens 23, setting up FG for 15-0 lead ... Also at Ravens, had a pass defensed and totaled four tackles (one for loss) and one QB hit ... Four tackles and one QB hit Sept. 14 vs. Atlanta ... On Oct. 12 vs. Carolina, ranked second on team with 10 tackles (one for-loss) ... Had four tackles on Oct. 19 at Indianapolis before leaving game with cervical strain ... Tied for team lead with seven tackles on Oct. 26 vs. Baltimore.
Previous seasons: 2012—Played in all 16 games as a rookie, and started last 14 after claiming starting WLB spot that was opened by an injury to Thomas Howard ... Also started Wild Card playoff game ... Led team in tackles (174) and had two fumble recoveries, one on defense and another on special teams ... Had team’s four highest game-totals in tackles — 23 on Dec. 30 vs. Baltimore, 16 on Oct. 21 vs. Pittsburgh, 15 on Dec. 2 at San Diego and 14 on Dec. 9 vs. Dallas ... Second on team in tackles-for-loss (eight) ... Credited with his first career start Sept. 23 at Washington (seven tackles) ... Logged first career sack on Sept. 30 at Jacksonville, with an 11-yarder against Blaine Gabbert ... Led team in tackles (12) in key win on Dec. 23 at Pittsburgh ... Team season-high 23 tackles, including 14 solos, on Dec. 30 vs. Baltimore ... Logged 10 tackles in Wild Card playoff on 1-5-13 at Houston. 2013—Started every game, with team-high 204 tackles, plus three sacks, an INT, one forced fumble, two fumble recoveries (one returned for TD) and 10 passes defensed (tied for front seven lead) ... Led team with eight tackles-for-loss, and had 11 QB pressures ... Had wide lead over second-place tackler (MLB Rey Maualuga with 110) ... Led team in tackles 12 times, tied for lead twice, finished second once and tied for second once ... Had team’s four highest game-totals of the season in tackles, led by 18 on Nov. 17 vs. Cleveland ... Recorded team-high 11 tackles and 10-yard shoestring sack of Tom Brady Oct. 6 vs. New England ... Came into Dec. 1 game at San Diego rated questionable with an ankle injury, but still led team with 13 tackles, along with a pass defensed and two QB pressures ... Missed fourth quarter Dec. 22 vs. Minnesota (concussion), but still tied for team lead with six tackles, including first two-sack game, and had two additional QB pressures ... Led team with 16 tackles, including one for loss, on Dec. 29 vs. Baltimore ... Seven tackles, including a shared sack, in Wild Card playoff on 1-5-14 vs. San Diego.
No apprenticeship: Burfict in 2012 set a Bengals mark for most starts (14) in a rookie season by a player signed as a college free agent. The Elias Sports Bureau reports that since the 1970 merger, only two undrafted rookies had previously started as many as half of Cincinnati’s games — LB Armegis Spearman of Ole Miss (11 games in 2000) and OT Kevin Sargent of Eastern Washington (eight games in 1992).
College: Played three seasons at MLB for Arizona State (2009-11), seeing action in 37 games with 32 starts ... Totaled 228 career tackles, including 22.5 for loss, seven sacks, four forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and an INT ... Played in all 13 games in 2011, with 12 starts, and logged 69 tackles, including five sacks ... Reached semifinals consideration as a junior as a candidate for Butkus Award (top college LB) ... In sophomore season in 2010, led team with a career-best 90 tackles, and also had two forced fumbles ... Earned the starting MLB spot in the fourth game of his freshman season, logging 69 tackles, two sacks, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries ... Named the 2009 Pac-10 Defensive Freshman of the Year, and was selected to multiple Freshman All-America lists.
Personal: Hometown is Corona, Calif. ... Attended Centennial High School, rated a national prep power, and helped lead team to No. 2 national ranking as senior ... Prep All-American, and one of most highly-rated prospects in the country as senior ... Majored in Interdisciplinary Studies at Arizona State, with emphasis in criminal justice and sociology ... Enjoys golf ... First name is pronounced “VONN-tez” and last name is pronounced “BER-fict” (rhymes with “perfect”).
Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict ended up on the winning team Sunday in his first Pro Bowl when his early interception helped Team Rice to a 22-21 victory in Honolulu.
If you want to know where the Bengals get this new brew of take-no-prisoners resiliency, you can find it in all corners of the locker room.
St. Louis Rams defensive end Robert Quinn deflects the pass of Colts QB Andrew Luck, and Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict comes up with the diving interception for Team Rice at the 2014 NFL Pro Bowl.
Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict made his case as a top defender in the NFL for 2013. Check out the amazing plays by the young linebacker.