Former ASU linebacker Vontaze Burfict is heading to the Cincinnati Bengals.
The undrafted free agent said he will sign a deal with the Bengals.
“I didn’t get drafted like I wanted to, but I’m blessed to be on an NFL team,” Burfict said.
Bengals’ coach Marvin Lewis has kept an eye on Burfict since ASU’s Pro Day, the linebacker said. The Bengals were in need of a running back in the sixth round and drafted Ohio State running back Dan Herron with their last pick. Lewis told Burfict he’d give him a call if Burfict wasn’t drafted in the seventh round because the team in thin at linebacker.
And that’s exactly what happened.
“I feel comfortable being coached by him,” Burfict said. “I know that I’m a first, second round pick and the Bengals got a steal in the draft because nobody drafted me.”
The last year has been a hectic one for Burfict. Projected as a first-round pick last year, his stock fell as the season progressed. In what he described as a bad junior season, he collected just 69 tackles compared to 90 as a sophomore. Burfict underperformed at the NFL Combine and just days before the draft, Fox Sports insider Jay Glazer reported Burfict failed a drug test.
“It’s been a hard, long year and now that it’s over, I can look forward into the future, better myself and learn from my mistakes,” Burfict said.
Burfict said Bengals linebacker Rey Maualuga stood out to him. During his third season, the former USC Trojan registered 88 tackles in 13 games.
“I’m going to go in the first week and take notes of what he’s doing,” the Corona, Calif., product said. “I’m going to perfect my style of football. Hopefully, I’m either playing beside him, backing up or I’m starting. Either way, I’m happy to be on the team.”