The Cincinnati Bengals have signed Hardy Nickerson to the practice squad. In a corresponding move, Cole Toner was released from the practice squad.
The Bengals waived Nickerson on Thursday to make room for Vontaze Burfict, who returned from his three-game suspension. Not long after the 2017 NFL Draft ended, the Bengals agreed to an undrafted free agent deal with Nickerson, who hopes to be the latest undrafted linebacker to make an impact in Cincinnati.
The most memorable to do so has been Burfict and Vincent Rey, who went from being undrafted to becoming two of Cincinnati’s key defenders.
Nickerson is the son of Hardy Nickerson Sr., who was a four-time All-Pro and member of the NFL’s All-1990s team while playing for the Steelers and Buccaneers. Nickerson Sr. was actually coached by Marvin Lewis in the 90s when they both were in Pittsburgh.
The younger Nickerson initially made the Bengals’ 53-man roster after a good training camp and preseason. He came out of college with the rare honor of being an all-conference performer in two Power 5 leagues. He began his career at Cal, where he was an All-Pac 12 performer in 2015 after registering 111 tackles.
The 6-foot, 232-point Nickerson would spend a postgraduate season at Illinois, where his father was named defensive coordinator in 2016. The younger Nickerson had 107 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, two sacks and two interceptions that season, which earned him All-Big Ten honors.
As for Toner, he was signed to the practice squad following final rosters cuts in September. He was waived by the Arizona Cardinals before Cincinnati signed him.