Hometown: Tacoma, WA
The Bengals needed to have an insurance policy in case their hometown punter, Kevin Huber, would not recover from his injury last season. T.J. Conley was part of that plan.
I can not believe that Conley is anything more than an extra leg in training camp. Formerly of the Browns and the Jets, Conley failed to make the Browns squad in 2013. He last had NFL action in 2011 with the Jets.
That year, Conley punted in 16 games for the Jets and averaged 42.7 yards on 92 punts. His 38.8-yard net average was the highest in Jets history (stat began in 1976). He had 32 inside-20 kicks with just six touchbacks, and his plus-26 differential on inside-20s to touchbacks ranked tied for third in the NFL.
Conley did not play in the 2012 or 2013 regular seasons. He was with the Jets in the 2012 preseason and with Cleveland in the 2013 preseason. He entered the NFL as a free agent with the Jets in 2009 but did not play in ’09 or ’10.
NFL teams often bring in extra legs in the preseason to save their kickers from taking every meaningless kick. NFL kickers are often passed around and once you are given an opportunity with one team, other teams follow suit.
The future this kid has on the Bengals is not too bright. I expect he will be one of the cuts the Bengals make to trim the roster and no one involved will be surprised by it.