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Reggie, Tez fill the generation gap


No. 55 got a chance to meet No. 57 this weekend.

Reggie Williams, the most productive linebacker in the history of the Bengals when he played 206 games in the '70s and '80s, made sure when he visited practice Saturday he met the Bengals' best linebacker of this century.

"I like watching Vontaze play because of the intensity that he brings to the line of scrimmage. He's knowledgeable about their defense and you can just see the difference in the execution when he's in the game versus when he's not," said Williams, in town for this weekend's festivities honoring the First 50 Bengals.

Williams, voted No. 12 on the all-time list by fans and media, could have been talking about himself.  Williams admits that like Burfict, he had some unsportsmanlike conduct calls go against him.

"There is that passion of competition where circumstances occur that are perceived as unsportsmanlike conduct," Williams says. "Yet I rue getting those because they always hurt the team."

If Williams is going to give Burfict any counsel it would be that because he's been there. Tame the passion and the yellow flags go away.

"The best leaders are the leaders who are on the field," Williams said. "You have to be on the field to lead by example. He is such an important contributor to the effectiveness of this Bengals defense."
From one backer to another, Williams hopes Burfict can do what he can to stay on the field because he's so good on it.

"His execution allows the defensive backs to play better," Williams said. "The defensive line seems to play much more cohesively when Vontaze is in the game. That just says he's got a relationship with his teammates. Something you can only know if you spend time in the huddle with him."

Williams appreciated the chance to meet-and-greet. But from backer to backer, he got the sense from Burfict's demeanor that he was already immersed in Sunday's game (1 p.m.-Cincinnati's Channel 12) against the Browns.

And he's been there, too.

"He was maybe having his pre-game face on," Williams said. "I was thinking back if another player walked up to me the day before a game whether I'd be all conversational, either. Because with a linebacker, actions speak louder than words."

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