Burfict is a cornerstone of Bengals defense, bringing a key physical element and exceptional instinctive football smarts ... Missed five games in 2016, but ranked second on team in tackles (101) and led team in tackles-per-games-played (9.2) ... Missed first six games of 2015, but led team in tackles-per-games-played (7.4) ... Led Bengals in total tackles in each of his first two pro seasons (2012-13) ... 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.
2016 general: Played in Games 4-14 ... Missed Games 1-3 on NFL suspension for playing rules violations, and inactive for Games 15-16 due to concussion and knee injury ... His 101 tackles ranked second on team, and he had two sacks, two INTs and a forced fumble ... His eight passes defensed ranked third on team.
2016 game-by-game: Three tackles and a pass defensed in ’16 debut, Sept. 29 vs. Miami ... Team-leading 10 tackles on Oct. 9 at Dallas ... Eight tackles (tied for second) on Oct. 16 at New England, with an eight-yard sack of Tom Brady ... Led team with 10 tackles on Oct. 30 vs. Washington in London ... Eleven tackles on Nov. 14 at N.Y. Giants, with a forced fumble against TE Jerrell Adams (Giants retained possession), a pass defensed and one QB hit ... Thirteen tackles Nov. 20 vs. Buffalo, including a three-yard sack of Tyrod Taylor ... Hit 13-tackle mark again on Nov. 27 at Baltimore, leading team, and had two tackles-for-loss ... Had season’s top defensive game by a Bengal on Dec. 4 vs. Philadelphia, with 15 tackles (team-high for the year), two INTs with 54 return yards and two additional passes defensed ... His fourth-quarter INT in Eagles game was key in snuffing Philly’s comeback ambitions ... Team-leading nine tackles Dec. 18 vs. Pittsburgh, with one pass defensed ... Did not play in preseason, per coaches’ decision to minimize risk of injury.
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 ... Set a Bengals mark for most starts (14) in a rookie season by a player signed as a college free agent ... Led team in tackles (174 in coaches’ stats) and had two fumble recoveries, one on defense and one on special teams ... Had team’s four highest game-totals in tackles ... 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 Dec. 23 at Pittsburgh ... Team season-high 23 tackles, including 14 solos, on Dec. 30 vs. Baltimore ... Logged 10 tackles in Wild Card playoff at Houston. 2013—Started every game, with team-high 204 tackles (coaches’ stats), 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 ... 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 ... Seven tackles, including a shared sack, in Wild Card playoff vs. San Diego. 2014—Campaign was derailed by injuries ... Missed time due to concussions, cervical strain and knee injury ... Placed Dec. 9 on Reserve/Injured list, part of continuing rehab from knee injury suffered Oct. 26 vs. Baltimore ... Started at WLB in Games 1-2 and 5-7 ... Inactive (concussion) for Games 3-4 and Games 8-13 (knee) ... For the season, logged 29 tackles (two for loss), a forced fumble, a fumble recovery two passes defensed and two QB hits. 2015—Did not practice or play in preseason, due to continued rehab from 2014 knee injury ... Began regular season on Reserve/PUP list, and returned to action in starting role for Games 7-16, plus Wild Card playoff ... On Dec. 13 vs. Pittsburgh, logged team-high and personal season-high 11 tackles, including one for loss ... On Dec. 20 at San Francisco, his 16-yard INT return to the 49ers 20 set up a second-quarter TD, and earlier in quarter, his 10-yard sack of Blaine Gabbert helped set up a short punt that led to a Bengals TD ... Led team with 12 tackles (eight solo) on Jan. 3 vs. Baltimore and had his second INT of the season, diving catch in third quarter that set up TD that put Bengals ahead to stay at 14-9 ... In Wild Card playoff vs. Pittsburgh, had a forced fumble in second quarter, a 12-yard sack of QB Ben Roethlisberger in third quarter, and a potentially game-clinching INT against Landry Jones in fourth quarter (Bengals surrendered that advantage by losing a fumble on the next play).
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 ... Reached semifinal 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 ... Earned starting MLB spot in 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.