CINCINNATI -- The Bengals have signed LB Vontaze Burfict to a three-year contract extension, the team announced Thursday.
Burfict has been with the Bengals since 2012, when he signed with the team as a free agent. This is the second three-year extension he has signed with the team.
The Bengals described Burfict as "a cornerstone of the Bengals' defense" in the announcement. He has started in 56 of his 58 games with the Bengals, totaling 582 tackles (386 solo), seven sacks, five interceptions, three forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries and 28 passes defensed.
The team didn't disclose the terms of the deal. ESPN's Adam Schefter reported the deal is worth $38.68 million.
Burfict will miss the first three games of this season due to a suspension for a hit he made in a preseason game against Kansas City.
Coach Marvin Lewis has defended the hit. He spoke highly of Burfict Thursday.
"Vontaze is still one of the young, emerging talents within the league," he said. "We have worked hard at training, developing and retaining talented players. It’s pleasing that Vontaze has made this commitment to be a part of the organization going forward. It was important to reach an extension before the start of the season and we look forward to having Vontaze back with the team in a few weeks."
The Bengals will host their season opener against the Baltimore Ravens Sunday.