The Cincinnati Bengals appear to have lost Joseph Ossai for the entire 2021 season, but not because of the injury you’re thinking of.
According to NFL Network reporter Tom Pelissero, Ossai has a torn meniscus that requires surgery which could end the rookie’s season.
With Ossai out, the Bengals have signed free agent defensive end Noah Spence.
#Bengals rookie DE Joseph Ossai is slated to have knee surgery this week for a meniscus injury that is feared to be season-ending, per source.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) August 22, 2021
Brutal blow for Cincinnati and Ossai, a third-round pick who sacked Tom Brady and had five QB pressures in a stellar preseason debut.
Ossai felt the knee issue one day after the Bengals’ preseason win over the Buccaneers on Aug. 14. When he was assessed for a wrist injury suffered in the game, the team also looked at his knee and found the meniscus injury.
So it’s unclear when Ossai suffered the meniscus injury that likely wipes out his rookie campaign.
Ossai, a third-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, was originally injured in preseason game No. 1 vs. the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He suffered a wrist injury while pressuring the QB. After grimacing in pain, Ossai left the field, was examined by trainers in the blue medical tent, and finally left for the locker room to likely get x-rays and other testing.
Later, Bengals radio analyst Dave Lapham reported that Ossai was feared to have a broken wrist but could still return in time for Week 1.
The former Texas Longhorns star clearly has a lot of potential after his big night in Tampa, as Ossai recorded a sack, two QB hits and five total pressures on just 22 pass-rushing snaps.
As for Spence, who was released by the Saints earlier this week, he hasn’t appeared in an NFL game since 2019 with Washington (seven games). He was the 39th overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft of the Buccaneers, then was cut and joined Washington during the 2019 season.
After being cut in November of the 2019 season, Spence signed with the Saints that December, was re-signed in the 2020 offseason, tore his ACL in May of 2020, missed the entire season, was re-signed this past offseason, then released Aug. 16th.
For his career, Spence has 7.5 sacks, 16 QB hits, 37 total tackles and three tackles for loss in 41 games (six starts).