Brian Leonard Heads to Injured Reserve; Bengals Claim Rookie Cornerback David Pender

Bengals running back Brian Leonard began the season worried that he suffered a possible career-ending Lisfranc injury, basically fractures of the join in the midfoot, against the Dallas Cowboys during the Hall of Fame. After a litmus of tests, Leonard's injury turned out to be mid-foot sprain, needing only several weeks before returning to action, which he did in the third game of the year against the Carolina Panthers.

Leonard injured his ankle last week against the Cleveland Browns and he was quickly listed as out when the week progressed towards the San Diego Chargers.

On Tuesday, the Bengals placed Brian Leonard on Injured Reserve, making him the 17th Bengals player placed on Injured Reserve, tying "Detroit for the NFL lead with 17 players on IR, one ahead of the Colts."

In truth, aside from playing three less games, Leonard had a better season this year than last. Of the 29 times Leonard touched the football, he converted 45% for first downs compared to his 33% conversion from last year. In 2009, Leonard touched the football 57 times for 301 yards (5.3 yards/touch) from scrimmage compared to this year's 198 yards from scrimmage on 29 touches (6.8 yards/touch).

The Bengals also claimed former Colts defensive back David Pender on Tuesday. Pender, signed with the Philadelphia Eagles as an undrafted free agent this season, found his way on the Colts 53-man roster in early December for three games. He recorded a couple of special teams tackles before being waived by the Colts Tuesday morning. A few hours later, the Cincinnati Bengals claimed him.

Pender's CBS Sports Draft Page says of the cornerback:

Pender stepped into the fire as a true freshman (13 tackles, two pass breakups), earning a start in the regular-season finale at Hawaii. He then started seven of 13 games in 2007 (one INT, six PBU) before becoming an honorable mention All-Big Ten selection as full-time starter in 2008 (one INT, 12 PBU). Coaches put him on their all-conference second team to wrap 2009 after he made a career-high 40 tackles, two for loss, one interception and 13 pass breakups.

Though Pender's frame and technique might cause him problems against NFL receivers, he brings more than respectable speed and athleticism to the position and does not back down from anyone in press coverage. He should be a good find late in the draft or as a free agent.

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