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P.J. Dawson promoted to Bengals’ 53-man roster

The Bengals are banged up at linebacker, so it only makes sense to call up P.J. Dawson before the team faces the Texans.

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NFL: Cincinnati Bengals-Minicamp Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Bengals are bringing linebacker P.J. Dawson back up to the 53-man roster.

On Friday, the team announced that Dawson was being signed from the practice squad to fill the final vacant spot on the roster, which was made after long snapper Tyler Ott was waived earlier this week.

Dawson, now in his second season with the Bengals, spent most of his rookie year sitting on the bench and essentially getting a redshirt year. He was expected to take on a bigger role with the team this year, but was surprisingly waived during final roster cuts.

After getting a workout with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Dawson ended up joining the Bengals’ practice squad, where he’s spent the entire 2016 season thus far.

The 99th-overall pick of the 2015 NFL Draft, the Bengals took Dawson after a standout career at TCU. Going into the draft, few saw Dawson being on the board late in Round 3 as the All-American was projected to be drafted in Round 2.

Dawson was rated as the top 4-3 linebacker prospect by some, and most expected he'd be off the board well before the second day of the draft was ending. He was a force at TCU in 2014, leading the team with 136 tackles, 20 tackles for loss and four interceptions on his way to being named Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year.

Pro Football Focus went as far as to call Dawson one of the biggest steals in the draft, and that led many in Bengaldom to think he'd contribute significantly as a rookie.

Those expectations only grew with a good showing in training camp and the preseason, not to mention the Bengals expressing their belief that Dawson was bound for greatness.

But that hasn’t happened thus far, so hopefully it will now that he’s getting a second chance of sorts with the team. This move probably signals that Vontaze Burfict will not play this weekend in Houston due to a concussion and knee injury suffered in Week 15. Vincent Rey is also battling a hamstring injury, so Dawson could see a lot of playing time in Houston as could rookie Nick Vigil who has been on the roster this season and has been receiving an increasing amount of playing time.

Welcome back to the roster, Dawson.