Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis praises running back Daniel Herron

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Bengals have a crowded room at running back with a collection of third-down backs that figures to play significant on special teams.

Daniel Herron appears to be a long-shot of the bunch.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Giovani Bernard are obvious residents on the 53-man roster when the Cincinnati Bengals visit Chicago during the regular season opener on September 8. Projecting that the team holds onto four running backs (not including a full back), that would leave two spots for Cedric Peerman, Bernard Scott, Rex Burkhead and Herron.

And two things will determine those spots.

Hands out of the backfield and special teams. Peerman, who signed a two-year deal worth $2.5 million on March 7, appears to be safe (especially considering his significant runs during fake punts).

Herron could be the dark horse, especially when factoring Marvin Lewis' comments this week.

"Danny has been able to show people things he can do," Lewis said via Bengals.com. "He's impressed me with his ability to catch the football because you don't get much of that opportunity … Danny being on the practice squad when he was there. He worked extremely hard, so when he got his chance, what he did and how productive he was on special teams was really no surprise."

Herron was credited with two blocked punts last season (one was really a tip), the first Bengals to block a punt since DeDe Dorsey did it against the Arizona Cardinals on November 2007.

Burkhead was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in the sixth round of the 2013 NFL draft and Scott returned this offseason, signing a one-year deal worth $1,016,250.

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