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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