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Vontaze Burfict: “I have a big chip on my shoulder”

Vontaze Burfict

Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vonaze Burfict works a drill during NFL football rookie minicamp at Paul Brown Stadium, Friday, May, 11, 2012, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Tony Tribble)


The opening of rookie minicamp in Cincinnati today meant the first opportunity to see undrafted free agent Vontaze Burfict in a Bengals uniform. It also meant an opportunity to hear Burfict, and he said getting passed over in the NFL draft made him more motivated than ever.

“Not being picked, going undrafted I have a big chip on my shoulder and I’m ready to hit somebody,” Burfict told Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer.

The Bengals have Burfict playing middle linebacker, and he said he has a lot of learning to do before he’s ready to make the defensive calls usually expected of a middle linebacker.

“The blitzes are complicated and way different from what we ran,” Burfict said. “I’ve just got to learn the defense, be a leader out there. Mike linebacker is like the quarterback on the defense. So it’s just being a leader and just knowing what’s going on around me — every position around me, what they’re doing.”

Burfict weighed in at 248 pounds, and Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said Burfict is in significantly better shape than he was during his disastrous Scouting Combine and Pro Day performances. Maybe even good enough shape that when it’s time to hit somebody in another team’s uniform, he’ll look like he belongs in the NFL, despite the consensus that emerged about him before the draft.