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Bengals LB Burfict returns to practice

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CINCINNATI – Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict took an important step in his comeback Thursday when he was cleared to practice.

Burfict can practice without counting against the 53-player roster limit for a period of up to 21 days. He remains on the Physically Unable to Perform list, where he was placed Sept. 5 due to the continuing need for rehab of a knee injury.

Burfict could be activated to the roster at any time during the 21-day period..

The Cincinnati Enquirer confirmed Tuesday through league sources that Burfict had traveled to California where he met with knee surgeon Dr. Neal ElAttrache.

Burfict worked out Monday in a T-shirt and shorts. The initial goal set weeks ago was for him to return for this Sunday’s game at Pittsburgh.

A Pro-Bowler in 2013, Burfict appeared in just five games last season, missing two games due to a concussion before being placed on injured reserve in December with a knee injury.

“Obviously it’s just like anybody else,” defensive coordinator Paul Guenther told reporters earlier this week. “It’s like coming into training camp. You’re not going to be in football shape right away, so you can’t play a whole bunch of snaps right away. We’ll have to ease him into it when he gets back.”

Burfict led the team in tackles in 2012 and ’13 when he had 204 tackles with three sacks and an interception.


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