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Vontaze Burfict Comments on Dislike of Steelers Ahead of 2016 AFC Wild Card

GLENDALE, AZ - NOVEMBER 22:  Outside linebacker Vontaze Burfict #55 of the Cincinnati Bengals on the sidelines during the NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium on November 22, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Matt FitzgeraldCorrespondent IIIJanuary 7, 2016

Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Vontaze Burfict has expressed his distaste for the Pittsburgh Steelers ahead of Saturday's Wild Card Weekend showdown between the AFC North rivals.

"I hate Pittsburgh," said Burfict after Wednesday's practice, per's Ralph N. Paulk. "It's not personal. That's just the way it is."

A little bit of bad blood isn't necessarily a negative if it doesn't boil over on the gridiron and is in good competitive spirit. But that may not be what Burfict is going for in articulating his feelings toward a team he's gearing up to play against for a third time this season.

Prior to kickoff in the teams' last meeting in Week 14, a scuffle broke out, partially because of now-deleted tweets Pittsburgh linebacker Vince Williams directed at Burfict before the game. 

Also adding fuel to the fire for the Cincinnati star and his side is the fact the Bengals have been one-and-done in each of the past four postseasons. They haven't notched a single playoff win under coach Marvin Lewis.

Following the aforementioned altercation before Week 14, Cincinnati lost quarterback Andy Dalton to a thumb injury amid a 33-20 loss. Dalton isn't healthy enough to suit up for this Saturday's playoff clash at Paul Brown Stadium, leaving AJ McCarron under center as he tries to help snap the Bengals' playoff skid.

Burfict's side of the ball has its work cut out for it to shut down a high-octane Steelers offense led by elite quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and superstar receiver Antonio Brown.

The linebacker had better hope his unit holds up its end of the bargain, especially since his comments could be used as motivation by his opponent. Otherwise, it will be another bitter end to a strong Bengals season.

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