The team ended up keeping him on the 53-man roster through the bye week, as they’re still trying to find someone to take his place on the 53-man roster. In the meantime, Lawson is still showing up at Paul Brown Stadium to speak with the media about his injury, recovery, and his hopes of coming back better than ever.
Carl Lawson walked through the locker room in a knee brace. He’ll have surgery next week. I told him I was surprised he was walking so well. He said quad strength had a lot to do with it and that’ll help with recovery. He said he’ll definitely be out there Week 1 next year— Katherine Terrell (@Kat_Terrell) November 5, 2018
Carl Lawson has a ridiculously good attitude about his injury. Said he’s glad he played some games and learned a ton. He said he’s sad he can’t be with his teammates but he’s not worried at all about getting back to 100 percent.— Katherine Terrell (@Kat_Terrell) November 5, 2018
Carl Lawson confirms ACL tear in his right knee. Had the ACL in his left knee repaired at Auburn. He’ll go back to James Andrews for surgery. “I’ll be back, 100 percent,” Lawson said. “Maybe even better.”— Fletcher Page (@FletcherPage) November 5, 2018
Carl Lawson said “it sucks” that he tore his ACL but he’s glad he at least played some games this season and felt he improved from rookie season. He tore ACL in other leg as a freshman at Auburn and said he isn’t worried about the recovery process. #Bengals— Laurel Pfahler (@LaurelPfahler) November 5, 2018
In his rookie year, Lawson registered 8.5 sacks, 16 tackles and 1 stuff in 16 games played after being drafted in the fourth round out of Auburn in the 2017 NFL Draft. He fell in the draft in part because of several injuries in college, including a torn ACL in his other knee. Having already recovered from one ACL tear is a big reason why he is so confident he’ll recover from the latest.
The hope was Lawson would see the field much more this year and thus add onto those rookie numbers in a big way. However, Lawson managed just one sack in seven games to go with six total tackles. He was consistently getting pressure on opposing quarterbacks, but he struggled to actually get them down on the ground.
Even so, Pro Football Focus gave him a 79.2 grade for the year, the 13th-best grade of any edge defender. He’s a big loss for a Bengals defense that’s already on pace to give up the most yards in NFL history.