Bengals LB Howard out for season

The Bengals suffered a major blow to their defense on Friday
when Thomas Howard was placed on injured reserve after tearing his
ACL during practice on Thursday.

”It was an unfortunate thing, anytime a player like Thomas, a
young talent, gets hurt,” coach Marvin Lewis said. ”You have to
move on. It’s a freak thing that happens.”

Howard, a seven-year veteran from UTEP, was Cincinnati’s
tackling leader last season with 120 stops, and started in the
Bengals’ Week 1 loss to the Ravens on Monday night. He had four
tackles, including a sack, and a pass defensed in the 44-13
defeat.

To take his place on the roster, Cincinnati signed linebacker
Roddrick Muckelroy. A third-year player from Texas, Muckelroy
started three preseason games for the Bengals this summer, posting
17 tackles, including a sack. He was a fourth-round draft choice in
2010 by Cincinnati.

The Bengals (0-1) take on the Browns (0-1) on Sunday.

”We were lucky to get Muckelroy back here this morning,” Lewis
said, ”and get going from there.”

Muckelroy, who was one of the final cuts by the Bengals two
weeks ago, was still in the area. He was scheduled to move back to
Houston today before he received a call from the team last
night.

Howard was signed by the Bengals last year following the lockout
and took over at weakside linebacker when Keith Rivers had an
offseason injury. Howard started 15 games and had four passes
defensed and two forced fumbles. He led team in tackles in four of
final six games last regular season, as well as the playoff loss to
Houston.

With Howard out, Vincent Rey and Dan Skuta will see action
against Cleveland. Rey has seen time mostly on special teams while
Skuta has started four games over the past three seasons, including
three at middle linebacker last year when Rey Maualuga had an ankle
injury.

”It’s unfortunate timing. Thomas is young enough, he might just
have to take a hiccup for a second and move forward,” Lewis said.
”He’s a wonderful, wonderful human being and person. He
understands things happen for a reason and he’ll come out of this
well.”

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