Undrafted out of Arizona State in 2012, Burfict is now recognized as one of the NFL’s top young LBs ... Enters his third Bengals season in 2014, after being voted to last season’s Pro Bowl and also to second-team Associated Press All-Pro spot ... Led 2013 Bengals in tackles by margin of 94 and was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week for his performance in Week 11 vs. Cleveland ... As a rookie in 2012, claimed starting WLB spot that was opened by Thomas Howard injury and ended regular season with team-leading 174 tackles ... Credited by coaches for exceptional natural football instincts and field awareness ... Powerful performer who easily carries 250 pounds on his 6-1 frame ... Talented prospect was bypassed in 2012 draft, labeled as an undisciplined
and out-of-shape player, but with Bengals he improved conditioning,
delivered consistent play and showed the potential that once had him rated a possible high pick.
Career transactions: Signed with Cincinnati as college free agent on 5-2-12.
Pro Bowl participation: Made his 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.
AFC’s best: Burfict was named by the NFL as AFC Defensive Player of Week for Nov. 17 vs. Cleveland. He had 18 total tackles and 15 solos, re-setting his team season-high in each category, and he forced a fumble by RB Chris Ogbonnaya that he returned 13 yards for a TD in the second quarter, putting the Bengals ahead 28-13.
2013 general: 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
More 2013 game highlights: Team-leading 13 tackles Sept. 22 vs. Green Bay ... Recorded team-high 11 tackles and 10-yard shoestring sack of Tom Brady Oct. 6 vs. New England ... Led team with 13 tackles Oct. 13 at Buffalo, and his recovery of Thad Lewis fumble at Bengals’ 47 led to Cincinnati TD ... Seven tackles Oct. 31 at Miami, first game in last 15 (dating to 2012) without double-figure tackle total ... Came into Dec. 1 game at San Diego questionable with an ankle injury, but still led team with 13 tackles, along with a pass defensed and two QB pressures ... Led team with 10 tackles and had two passes defensed Dec. 8 vs. Indianapolis ... Led team with 13 tackles Dec. 15 at Pittsburgh ... 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 the team with 16 tackles, including one for loss Dec. 29 vs. Baltimore, and had one QB pressure ... Seven tackles, including a shared sack, in Wild Card playoff on 1-5-14 vs. San Diego.
2012: Played in all 16 games, with 14 starts (Games 3-16), and also started Wild Card playoff game ... Led team in tackles (174) ...One fumble recovery 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), and had five QB pressures ... Credited with his first career start Sept. 23 at Washington and recorded seven tackles ... Led team in tackles (12) Sept. 30 at Jacksonville, and logged first career sack — 11-yarder of Blaine Gabbert in fourth quarter ... Tied for second on team in tackles (10) Oct. 7 vs. Miami, and recovered a fumble on a Dolphins punt return ... Six tackles Nov. 18 at Kansas City, and recovered Peyton Hillis fumble at Chiefs 34 in first quarter ... Led team in tackles (12) in key win on Dec. 23 at Pittsburgh ... Team season-high 23 tackles, including 14 solos (tied season high) on Dec. 30 vs. Baltimore ... Logged 10 tackles in Wild Card playoff on 1-5-13 at Houston.
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 several 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.