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Bengals place Kevin Minter on injured reserve; sign Brandon Bell off practice squad

The Bengals lose a starting linebacker and replace him with a promising practice squad linebacker.

NFL: Chicago Bears at Cincinnati Bengals Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Bengals have placed Kevin Minter on season-ending injured reserve, the team announced on Friday.

With a free spot on the 53-man roster, the Bengals signed linebacker Brandon Bell from the practice squad.

Minter, a fifth-year player, was battling a hamstring injury suffered in Week 14. He signed with the Bengals as an unrestricted free agent this year and was a starter when healthy. He played in nine games with seven starts, missing Games 7-10 with an elbow injury. He recorded 32 tackles (16 solos).

Overall, Minter was a productive player when he played, but injuries cost him far too much time this season for him to be considered a successful free agent signing. This will also damage his ability to earn a big free agent contract this coming offseason, whether it’s from the Bengals or another NFL team. He may have to settle for another one-year deal.

Bell, a rookie, signed with the Bengals as a college free agent out of Penn State this year and spent Games 1-13 on the team’s practice squad.