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Cody Core back at Bengals practice following ankle injury

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Core is hoping to earn a bigger role within the Bengals’ offense, but he has to stay healthy first and then showcase himself in the next two preseason games.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Bengals now have a full complement of receivers heading into the all-important third preseason game.

In addition to John Ross likely making his debut this week, the Bengals could have Cody Core back from his ankle injury when they face Washington on Sunday. On Wednesday, Core made his return to practice following an absence that extended just longer than one week.

Following the Bengals’ 23-12 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Core was seen with his ankle wrapped and crutches by his locker. Core didn't seem to think anything was too serious, saying, “I’m OK, I’ll be back” after he finished this game with one catch for 17 yards.

However, Core was unable to practice or play in the second preseason against the Kansas City Chiefs. Seeing him back at practice on Wednesday suggests he’s healthy now, but depending on his workload (limited versus full), it’s still up in the air as to whether he plays or sits out on Sunday when the Bengals head to Washington.

Core, who was selected with the 199th-overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, came to the Queen City after an unorthodox career with the Ole Miss Rebels. The 6'3", 205-pounder grabbed 78 passes for 1,202 yards and 10 touchdowns in his final two collegiate seasons after beginning his career as a defensive back.

After A.J. Green’s injury against the Buffalo Bills in Week 12, Core went on to earn increasing amounts of playing time and even started four games. He finished with 17 catches for 200 yards, all of which came in the final five games of the season.

The highlights of his rookie season were a 50-yard catch against the Philadelphia Eagles, an eight-reception game against the Houston Texans, and a big 31-yard catch in the season finale against the Baltimore Ravens.

This offseason, Core has impressed the coaching staff and his teammates, so much that he could be in line for a bigger role in this offense in his second NFL season. However, Brandon LaFell being re-signed and John Ross being drafted ninth overall could lead to Core being a potential gameday inactive for much of the season.