On Wednesday evening, I had the distinct pleasure of joining Nick Seuberling on Who-Dey Weekly to talk Bengals football. What was an equal pleasure was the opportunity to speak with Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com to get some inside information on the club and talk about the incoming draft class.
One question I had for Hobson was that of the situation with veteran linebacker, Thomas Howard. After arriving as a free agent in 2011, he was the club's strongest linebacker in the group with his strong tackling ability and above-average pass coverage skills. An unfortunate injury during practice after only one game sidelined Howard for the majority of the 2012 season.
He's currently rehabbing and with the Bengals bringing in James Harrison in free agency, as well as Sean Porter in the fourth round of this year's draft. I asked Hobson if Howard was still in the team's plans.
AC: "I'm curious about Thomas Howard. The team drafted Sean Porter in the fourth round and he seems to be able to back up all linebacker spots, or so the coaches say. Is Thomas Howard still in the plans, or is the team kind of waiting to see what's going on with that knee?"GH: "Marvin (Lewis) has said that they'll probably re-sign Thomas at some point. At some point, his knee is going to have to jump through some hoops before they sign a deal. But, I tell you, I think it's a hard road to hoe for any of the linebackers. I think that there's only 'one chair' because they're going to have to keep nine defensive linemen, that's pretty clear, so they have to go with six linebackers. There's the three starters, there's (Emmanuel) Lamur, and Porter. So, there's one chair left--I don't know if that chair is going to belong to Thomas Howard or not. He and maybe Bernard Scott start the season on PUP (Physically Unable to Perform List). But, I do definitely see him signing with the club once his knee passes tests."
Being on the PUP List would give the Bengals some flexibility at the position, but would also prohibit them from having Howard's services for at least the first six weeks of the season. If that is indeed the plan if/when Howard re-signs with the club, they can't have him practice early on, otherwise he will be ineligible for the PUP List. Regardless, if Howard is healthy, he'd be a great addition to the linebacker group. Hobson seems to have a good pulse on the club, so we're tentatively expecting some movement on Howard by the Bengals in the coming weeks.
A big thanks to Geoff Hobson for taking time out of his busy schedule to chat with us and a thanks to Nick Seuberling for hosting a great show. Be sure to download the podcast on iTunes.