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Bengals Activate LB Vontaze Burfict, Waive Rookie LB Hardy Nickerson

The Cincinnati Bengals announced Thursday that they’ve officially activated LB Vontaze Burfict from the exempt list now that he’s served his three-game suspension and waived rookie LB Hardy Nickerson.

Burfict had his initial five-game ban was reduced to three games following an appeal. The ban stemmed from an illegal hit on Chiefs FB Anthony Sherman during the preseason.

Burfict, 26, wound up signing on with the Bengals as an undrafted free agent out of Arizona State back in 2012. He was in the final year of his four-year, $20 million contract when the Bengals signed him to a three-year $38.68M extension a few weeks ago.

In 2016, Burfict appeared in 11 games for the Bengals and recorded 101 tackles, two sacks, two interceptions, a forced fumble and eight pass defenses. Pro Football Focus had him rated as the No. 6 linebacker out of 86 qualifying players.

Nickerson, 23, wound up signing a three-year, $1.66 million contract with the Bengals as an undrafted free agent out of Illinois back in May. He was set to make base salaries of $465,000 and $555,000 over the first two years of the contract when the Bengals cut him loose coming out of the preseason and later signed him to their practice squad.

In 2017, Nickerson has appeared in three games for the Bengals but has yet to record a statistic.