The Cincinnati Bengals have announced the signing of quarterback Keith Wenning from the practice squad to the 53-man roster. In a corresponding move, free agent wide receiver Michael Bennett has been signed to the practice squad to fill Wenning's vacated spot.
Bennett, an undrafted rookie out of University of Georgia was briefly with the Bengals during the preseason. Wenning also spent the preseason with Cincinnati before eventually earning a spot on the practice squad. Both moves were made in light of Andy Dalton's thumb injury, which is expected to sideline him for at least a few weeks. With AJ McCarron now the starting quarterback, Wenning will be his backup, and Bennett will fill Wenning's practice squad spot.
A four-year starter in college, Wenning recorded 4,148 passing yards with 35 touchdowns and only seven interceptions as a senior. He was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens with the 194th pick in the sixth round of the 2014 NFL Draft. After competing for a backup spot in the preseason, Wenning was waived and signed to the practice squad. He spent the entire 2014 season there before being signed to their 90-man offseason roster before being cut in May. He earned a brief stint with the Atlanta Falcons before they cut him in June, and the Bengals scooped him up shortly thereafter.
As for Bennett, a 6'2", 202-pound receiver out of Georgia, he caught 134 passes for 1,607 yards (12.0 ypc) and 17 scores during his four years in Athens. Bennett went undrafted in the 2015 NFL draft, mainly due to knee injuries suffered throughout his college career, most recently an ACL injury suffered in last season's Belk Bowl. Bennett tore another ACL during practice in 2012 and a meniscus at the end of 2013.
Bennett would spend much of this past offseason rehabbing his latest injury before finally being healthy enough to play once training camps had already started. The Bengals signed him after their first preseason game, and Bennett played in the final three games while catching three passes for 24 yards.
Our own Rebecca Toback interviewed Bennett shortly after he signed with Cincinnati. Bennett talked about becoming the latest Georgia Bulldog turned Cincinnati Bengal.
"The Georgia guys, once you're a dawg, you're always a dawg, that’s what we like to say at Georgia, and there’s a family feel," Bennett said. "Clint Boling took me out to dinner my first night here. We knew each other at UGA. It’s kind of cool when you look around and see guys in the locker room. This locker room feel is really attractive to me and I'm just really excited to be here."
Other Bulldogs currently on the roster include defensive tackle Geno Atkins, guard Clint Boling, safety Shawn Williams and wide receiver A.J. Green.
After these moves, the Bengals' 53-man roster and 10-man practice squad are now full. Wenning will be the backup behind McCarron this week. It's also worth noting that Bennett appears to have gotten the practice squad nod over free agent quarterback Phillip Sims, who was expected to get that practice squad spot if he did well in a work out with the team on Wednesday.