At one point during the season Bengals defensive end Carlos Dunlap was rated as one of the league's top defensive ends, especially in 4-3 base alignments. If you combined the final eight games during his rookie season and the first eight games this season, Dunlap has generated well over 30 quarterback pressures, all of his 12.5 quarterback sacks and even a fumble recovery for touchdown. All we're missing at this point is an interception return for a touchdown that wipes out a nine-point deficit and a few puppies saved from a burning church -- which he would of course do because "awesome" is on his resume with Chuck Norris as a reference.
That being said Dunlap has missed his second practice this week as the Cincinnati Bengals prepare for the 9-3 Houston Texans, though he did get work in on the side during Wednesday's practice with trainers. Dunlap has missed eight straight practices, including every practice leading up to the Cleveland Browns and the Pittsburgh Steelers and the two this week.
Don't you get the nauseating thought every once in a while that we might not see Dunlap again this season? Pessimistic view, I'm sure.
Bengals running back Cedric Benson and cornerback Nate Clements also sat during Thursday's practice, however offensive tackle Andre Smith reportedly returned.