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Bengals' Adam Jones 'can't wait' for Vontaze Burfict's return from ban

CINCINNATI -- How badly does Bengals cornerback Adam Jones want his teammate Vontaze Burfict back on the field?

The question was barely even out of a reporter's mouth before Jones threw back his head and started yelling.

"Hell yeah!" Jones bellowed, his voice echoing across the locker room. "Can't wait till 55 gets here, and I don't give a d--- who don't like it either."

Jones pulled out his phone as he was speaking.

"I'm calling him right now when I walk out of here," he said.

Jones is eager to get his friend and teammate back, and he wanted everyone to know it. Burfict has been the missing presence in the locker room for the first three weeks of the season as he serves his three-game suspension for violations of player safety.

He hasn't been allowed around the facility since the conclusion of the preseason. And while the defense gave his backup Vincent Rey deserved praise (he was the highest graded defensive player in a loss to the Steelers last week), players are excited to see their team start coming back together, piece by piece.

"Vinny Rey did a great job. We could've won any game with Vinny Rey," said cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick. "That guy played out of his mind. But getting (Burfict) back, that's another part of it."

The turnaround will be short for Burfict, as the Bengals are playing a Thursday night game this week against the Dolphins.

"Having him back bolsters our linebacking unit," Rey said. "It bolsters our defense in general, and our team. We're looking forward to having him back. He's just another player here to make plays for us. He's a big-time player and leader."

The Bengals' practice this week will be light, mostly walkthroughs, as they try to give players some rest on the short week. The short turnaround might not bode well for tight end Tyler Eifert, who is on his way back from an offseason ankle injury but wasn't quite ready to play against the Broncos after returning to practice for the first time last week.

Eifert led the team in receiving touchdowns last season, so his return could spark an offense that has been inconsistent this season. The Bengals have only two receiving touchdowns (A.J. Green in Week 1 and Giovani Bernard in Week 2).

"Tyler is obviously so talented," said Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton. "He's been a big part of our offense since he's been here, especially last year. It would be great to have him back, whenever it is."