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Healthy offseason has Vontaze Burfict feeling great

Cincinnati Bengals v New England Patriots

FOXBORO, MA - OCTOBER 16: Rob Gronkowski #87 of the New England Patriots and Vontaze Burfict #55 of the Cincinnati Bengals exchange words in the fourth quarter at Gillette Stadium on October 16, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts.(Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

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Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict is heading into the final year of his contract and he’s doing it in a different way than he headed into the last two seasons.

Burfict needed microfracture surgery after a 2014 knee injury that limited him to five games and started the 2015 season on the PUP list as he continued to recover. Last offseason saw him dealing with a foot injury that teamed with his season-opening suspension as reasons why he got in limited work during the offseason and preseason.

There are no such concerns this offseason, however, and defensive coordinator Paul Guenther says Burfict is in the best shape he’s been in since his Pro Bowl season in 2014.

“It set me back for pretty much, I would say two years because coming in you’re not able to mesh your whole body how you want to so you get other injuries,” Burfict said, via Jim Owczarski of the Cincinnati Enquirer. “This offseason I was able to focus on all the little muscles in my body, conditioning and doing all types of yogas and stuff like that. I feel great. I came in in great shape and I’m just here to try and lead the team.”

Burfict said he’s not thinking about his contract, but he doesn’t need to spend much time pondering the state of things to know that being healthy and productive is the best path to cashing in whether he’s in Cincinnati or somewhere else.