Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict will miss the first six games of the season after landing on the physically-unable-to-perform list, a decision that head coach Marvin Lewis said came down to the wire.
"It was a really difficult decision and one, frankly, that could have broke either way," Lewis said via the Cincinnati Enquirer. "I think really what came down in the end is the best thing for Vontaze's future is for us to make sure we give him enough time and not rush him back on to the field."
Burfict is still working his way back from microfracture knee surgery in January. He won't be able to practice while on the PUP list but he can attend meetings.
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The Bengals have a bye in Week 7, meaning Burfict will be eligible to return for the Nov. 1 game in Pittsburgh. Lewis is hoping that Burfict will be 100 percent when that time comes.
"He's done the rehab part, but he's not been able to progress," Lewis said. "When it's time, in six weeks, he's ready to go 100 percent. He's got both the football-cardiovascular done, he's got the rehab done and he's 100 percent going forward rather than trying to kind of fudge it in any way. Which is hard, because he has worked hard. We know what he means to the football team. It's a difficult thing to do for him. But we had a candid conversation about it, that this was a hard call but it's one we're going to make right now."
h/t: Cincinnati Enquirer