CINCINNATI -- The contract extension the Cincinnati Bengals and linebacker Vontaze Burfict were reported to have agreed to earlier this week remains in limbo. As the Bengals see it, the deal is not yet official.
"As you know, we believe it here [when] the club and the player have signed off," coach Marvin Lewis said after Friday's practice. "It's not signed off."
Burfict, the Bengals' Pro Bowl "Will" linebacker who is entering the final year of his rookie deal, has declined to speak with media until the extension is finalized. Late Wednesday afternoon, ESPN's Adam Schefter and Adam Caplan reported he had agreed to a four-year, $20 million contract extension with the club. According to Schefter, the new deal would pay Burfict $7.6 million in the first year.
It originally appeared Burfict hadn't yet signed the contract extension when the deal's agreement was first reported because he was sick. Defensive coordinator Paul Guenther said Wednesday afternoon that Burfict had come down with a "stomach bug" earlier that day and had been sent home.
Burfict has been around the team the last two days, although he has not practiced since Monday. The Bengals are visiting Arizona on Sunday night for their third preseason game. Lewis wasn't yet sure if Burfict would be cleared in time for the game, Burfict's first in The Grand Canyon State since he played college football at Arizona State.
As for whether he expected Burfict to sign the extension sometime soon, Lewis added: "I would guess we expect him to sign. Obviously the agent believes he has a deal. We didn't release it."
Burfict back in February changed agents, signing with the upstart Paradigm Sports.
Last season, Burfict led the NFL in tackles with 171. The former undrafted free agent also led the Bengals in tackles in 2012 with 127.
Whenever Burfict signs his new deal, he stands to earn a lot more than he's scheduled to make this year. He's been expected to earn $570,000 this season as part of the final year of his first contract.