Before they came to work Friday morning for the Bengals' walk-through, Burfict, cornerback Adam Jones, and safety Reggie Nelson dropped off a Christmas gift of 100 bikes at Rockdale Academy Elementary in Avondale.
"About seven minutes up the road," Burfict said. "That area isn't high income so we figured we'd make a bunch of kids happy for the holidays and put a smile on their face. "
The players ended up getting smiles on their faces, too, when about ten students who weren't in class yet came outside and recognized the players with stunned, happy cries. And there was any bike they could want.
"Girls' bikes, guys' bikes, older kids' bikes, beach cruisers," Burfict said. "It was pick and choose."
EIFERT, ILOKA OUT: No surprises when the Bengals released Friday's injury report after the walk-through. The Bengals ruled out for Sunday's game (4:25 p.m.-Cincinnati's Channel 12) in San Francisco tight end Tyler Eifert (concussion), sidelined since Steelers safety Mike Mitchell's head shot last Sunday, and safety George Iloka (groin), sidelined after he left Sunday's game early with a re-aggravation. Backup left tackle Jake Fisher (concussion), out since he got hurt last week in practice, is also ruled out.
But everybody else is probable after a full practice Friday, led by starting cornerback Adam Jones (foot). Jones, having a Pro Bowl season on the corner, has missed two of the last four games, including last week.
EXPANDED ROLE? Burfict tees it up Sunday his eighth game back since micro fracture knee surgery and with three games left he knows his role might be expanding.
"Possibly, possibly," Burfict said before Friday's walk-through and the ensuing flight to The Coast. "I think they're waiting for the playoffs. We'll see what happens."
When Burfict made his name in his first two seasons in 2012 and 2013 as one of the top defenders in the game, he was that vanishing species of backer that plays all three downs. But the Bengals are bringing the knee along slowly, limiting Burfict so far this season to first and second downs and reserving passing situations for Vincent Rey and Emmanuel Lamur. The 99 Percenter is now somewhere between 55 and 60 percent, but now the playoffs are here with a bye on the line, aren't they?
And Burfict looks like he's back in form after racking up a season-high 11 tackles against the Steelers last Sunday. The league office noticed him too, slapping him with a trio of fines adding up to nearly $70,000, according to an NFL source.
But even though the Achilles' heel of last Sunday's pretty good defensive effort was the Steelers converting eight of 14 third downs, head coach Marvin Lewis sounded on Friday like wasn't going to do anything major with Burfict's role.
"He doesn't have to (play every down)," Lewis said. "His injury from surgery is not going to be right for over a year, anyway. The fact that we're blessed we don't have to play him all the time is good. He's extended himself and played more each and every week, not more than he's capable of, and we've tried not to do that."
"I didn't have any training camp like those other guys did," Burfict did. "My body does get a little fatigued, but the Bengals have been helping me. Sitting me out of practice (usually once a week) to do rehab and more cold tub and extra stuff for my body to keep me going."
Burfict wasn't the only one bench-pressed in the wallet Friday stemming from that alley fight masquerading as Bengals-Steelers. But he was the only Bengal penalized for going over the line with physical play. Wide receiver A. J. Green got nabbed for his punt celebration when he kicked the ball in the stands following his touchdown catch.
Burfict was fined for roughing the passer when the league found he went for the knees of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and they also got him for a facemask and unnecessary roughness.
But the Steelers out-fined him.
Right guard David DeCastro and right tackle Marcus Gilbert each got fined $8,681 for unnecessary roughness and wide receiver Antonio Brown got fined the same for his low crack-back block on Bengals safety Reggie Nelson. And safety Mike Mitchell racked up more than $23,000 when his head shot took Bengals tight end Tyler Eifert out of the game. Like Green, two Steelers were given celebration fines.
Burfict had no comment on the matter, but talked about the challenge facing a defense trying to make things easier for quarterback AJ McCarron in his first pro start.
It's a defense also going against a backup quarterback in the 49ers' Blaine Gabbert, but Burfict says this isn't the same guy the Bengals racked up in Jacksonville in Burfict's second NFL start in 2012.
"Honestly, the first time I played Blaine, he wasn't that fast but I've seen him on film and he's got a longer stride and looks a little more comfortable," Burfict said. "We have six, seven ends that are able to run. Carlos (Dunlap) and Mike J. (Johnson) will keep him in the pocket and hopefully make it an easier game for us."
The Browns sacked Gabbert nine times in Cleveland last week, although he ran out of bounds for three of them and no doubt he'll be throwing those away this Sunday if Bengals defensive coordinator Paul Guenther gets the right blitzes dialed up.
"He runs for his life out there," Burfict said. "He's been out there and there are free rushers coming. Coach G. loves to scheme blitzes. We could possibly have some blitzes come at him and try to get some free rushers.
WEATHER REPORT: The National Weather Service in Wilmington, Ohio is calling for partly sunny skies and a high of 57 degrees with a kick-off temperature in the mid-50s Sunday in San Francisco. There is a 20 percent chance of a light shower but nothing heavy. Winds out of the south and east at three to six miles per hour.