The Cincinnati Bengals have placed linebacker Markus Bailey and defensive end Khalid Kareem on the active/non-football injury list, according to Monday’s transaction wire.
Bailey, drafted in Round 7 of this year’s draft following a standout career at Purdue, suffered a torn right ACL during practice that ended his senior season after just four games. He also tore his left ACL as a true freshman in 2015, so the injury concerns likely helped him slide into Round 7. Otherwise, he was a second-round talent that could be a major steal for the linebacker-need Bengals.
ACL tears are always tricky to come back from, so it’s no real surprise the Bengals are playing it slow with Bailey as training camp opens this week. The hope is he’ll be on the field soon and competing for a starting spot at linebacker, arguably the team’s biggest question mark heading into next season.
But as a seventh-round pick, Bailey needs a big training camp to show he’s worthy of a spot on the 53-man roster, something he obviously can’t do for however long he’s on NFI.
As for Kareem, he was selected in Round 5 of this year’s draft after playing at Notre Dame, where he registered 88 total tackles, 20.5 tackles for loss, 10 sacks, 4.0 forced fumbles and 6.0 pass deflections across 26 games over the last two seasons.
Kareem sustained a torn labrum in his left shoulder midway through his final season but didn’t miss a game before having surgery in January. It’s usually around a 6-8 month recovery for labrum tears, so he should be fairly close to 100% as training camp gets set to begin.
The good news is the Bengals are already deep along the defensive line, so they can afford to slowly bring Kareem back and avoid a re-injury before his rookie season begins. And because he was a Day 3 pick, his roster spot is far from guaranteed. So hopefully, he’s able to get off NFI and practice soon.
Both Kareem and Bailey have already signed their rookie contracts with the Bengals.