INDIANAPOLIS - Bengals director of player personnel Duke Tobin endorsed linebacker Vontaze Burfict and expressed the club's desire to re-sign cornerback Adam Jones during his Thursday media availability.
After picking up personal fouls on the last play of last month's AFC Wild Card Game, both players were the focal point of the 18-16 loss to the Steelers the Bengals had secured until running back Jeremy Hill fumbled with 1:23 left.
But Tobin said those plays weren't the only thing going on in a game where the NFL admitted Steelers assistant coach Joey Porter shouldn't have been on the field when Jones picked up his penalty and the Steelers' touchdown wasn't a completed pass.
"Vontaze did far to cause us win that game and during the season than he ever did to cause us to lose," Tobin said. "I think maybe we all wish he and Adam had reacted differently, but they had help in that. There was a lot going on. It was a game like no game I've seen. I think we forget that four plays earlier Vontaze really won the game for us with a diving interception and we weren't able to capitalize on that for the win, or otherwise we wouldn't be talking about any of this. We'd be talking about how great Vontaze is.
Jones becomes a free agent in 11 days, but Tobin says they want to retain a guy that has spent six seasons in Cincinnati.
"We like Adam. He's done a good job for us," Tobin said. "He's grown in his role. He's also a very passionate player. He makes impactful plays for us. He's really grown in our system. There's a fit there. We'll see if we can get it done." . . .
For the third time at the combine, a former Marvin Lewis coordinator appeared at the podium as a head coach. Mike Zimmer of the Vikings, who built one of his meeting rooms off a Bengals model, was asked what exactly is in the water at Paul Brown Stadium and he pointed to Lewis and Bengals president Mike Brown.
"No. 1, Mike Brown does a great job helping coaches grow," Zimmer said. "He's very, very loyal to them. He's solid in everything. His upbringing is unbelievable. And Marvin has done a great job with all of us. He helped me grow tremendously. He helped me in a lot of different ways. We've done a lot of things that Marvin has done with some of the things we do with the team overall. One of the big things about that is it shows that you can be a good guy and be a good coach."
This gallery features photos of current Bengals players at past NFL Combines