CINCINNATI -- One day after signing a three-year contract extension that will pay him more than $20 million the next four years, the Cincinnati Bengals' newest well-paid defender will be resting Thursday night when the Bengals host the Colts in the preseason finale.
Vontaze Burfict is one of 12 Bengals who were listed on the "not expected to play" list that was announced about an hour and a half before kickoff. The third-year player suffered a hamstring injury in last Sunday's preseason game at Arizona. He was part of just six plays.
Earlier this week, Burfict told reporters he expected to be fully healthy in time for the Bengals' regular-season opener Sept. 7 at Baltimore.
So don't panic, Bengals fans. There's very little reason to read into his absence Thursday night. Coaches clearly know what the Pro Bowl linebacker can do, and have no reason to unnecessarily risk putting him in harm's way in the finale. Besides, the goal in this game is to keep key players as healthy as possible. He probably wouldn't play much if he were healthy enough, anyway.
Along with Burfict, rookie cornerback Darqueze Dennard, tight end Tyler Eifert and three running backs -- BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Rex Burkhead and Cedric Peerman -- also are not expected to play Thursday. Dennard hurt his hip in the Week 2 game against the Jets. He's been rehabbing since then. He also missed the Week 3 preseason game at Arizona.
Eifert has a shoulder injury that has bothered him since before the spring. He has been touch and go all preseason, but hopes to be healthy enough to play in the opener. Green-Ellis has an undisclosed issue, although he was sick last week and missed several practices. He also didn't participate in Tuesday's workout; the only one the Bengals had this week. Burkhead's injury dates back to the Week 2 game when he was knocked out with a knee injury. Peerman left Sunday's game with an undisclosed injury, although it appeared he hurt a hip when he was slammed to the ground hard late in the contest.
Here is the full list of Bengals who aren't expected to play Thursday:
QB AJ McCarron
CB Darqueze Dennard
RB Cedric Peerman
RB Rex Burkhead
RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis
LB Vontaze Burfict
OT Andre Smith
OG Trey Hopkins
DT Devon Still
WR Marvin Jones
TE Tyler Eifert
WR James Wright