Bengals send Vontaze Burfict, others to PUP list to start camp


CINCINNATI -- Pro Bowl linebacker Vontaze Burfict was one of three defensive players the Cincinnati Bengals placed on their physically unable to perform list Tuesday. All three will miss the start of training camp, which begins Friday at Paul Brown Stadium.

Each of the players was placed onto the active/PUP list. Because of that, they continue to count against the Bengals' 90-man preseason roster limit and will be allowed to return to practices once medically cleared.

While Burfict has spent nearly all offseason rehabbing from microfracture surgery to his left knee, defensive end Margus Hunt has been trying to recover from an April back injury and linebacker Sean Porter has been attempting to bounce back from an ACL tear he originally suffered nearly a year ago.

Before news of Burfict's injury-list designation, Bengals coach Marvin Lewis was asked at a luncheon earlier Tuesday afternoon about Burfict's progress.

"He's doing well," Lewis said. "When he proves he's ready to sustain football play day after day and the doctors feel good about it, then he'll be out there."

Until Burfict is healthy, expect Vincent Rey and free-agency acquisition A.J. Hawk to split time in camp at the "Will" linebacker position.

Along with Burfict, Hunt and Porter, the Bengals made two other injury-related roster moves.

Rookie offensive tackle Cedric Ogbuehi, the team's first-round pick, was placed onto the active/non-football injury list for an ACL tear he suffered last December during Texas A&M's Liberty Bowl win over West Virginia. Ogbuehi has spent the past eight months rehabbing the injury and, like Burfict, recently posted videos of himself beginning to cut and turn and sprint on the injured leg.

Last year, quarterback AJ McCarron began the preseason on the active/non-football injury list with receiver Marvin Jones. Before the end of the season, McCarron had a PUP list stint and Jones went on the injured reserve. McCarron's injury last season stemmed from shoulder fatigue during college.

Cincinnati also released second-year receiver James Wright under the waived/injured designation. If Wright clears waivers Wednesday, he will revert to the Bengals' IR for the 2015 season. His loss would be a big blow to an already-reeling pass-catching group. After their top three receivers, the Bengals' depth looks quite thin. Wright was expected to be the fourth receiver had he recovered fully from a knee injury he suffered Week 13 last season.

Wright was just coming into his own in that game, converting first downs on all three of his catches in the win at Tampa Bay. Each of the receptions came on third downs.