The news got even better during Monday’s practice for the Cincinnati Bengals, as veteran cornerback Chidobe Awuzie was able to take part in 11-on-11 work for the first time since tearing his ACL.
Granted, it was only for a brief time, but it’s still a major step in Awuzie’s road to recovery and his hopes for being active in Week 1 vs. the Browns, if not starting outright.
#Bengals Practice No. 16 notes @WLWT— Charlie Clifford (@char_cliff) August 21, 2023
-Chido Awuzie is in for 11-on-11 work for the first time. Covered Chase & Higgins on different reps. Another key step forward.
-Siemian and Browning continue to split up the snaps. A nice Browning -> Iosivas connection: pic.twitter.com/3h63vv9saU
Chidobe Awuzie says he doesn’t necessarily need a week or two of team reps in practice to be ready to go come Week 1. Also said he felt like he could play 4 months after tearing his ACL #Bengals— Kelsey Conway (@KelseyLConway) August 21, 2023
Awuzie also told reporters that he felt he could play in game action just four months after suffering the tear on October 31st, which would have been around March when NFL free agency began. That could help explain why the Bengals didn’t make big free agency moves at the position other than signing Sidney Jones to compete for one of the final spots at cornerback while letting Eli Apple and Tre Flowers depart as well.
His services could be of use against quarterback Deshaun Watson and wide receiver Amari Cooper. Awuzie tore his ACL in October of 2022 and has his eyes set on playing during the team’s opener.
After signing with Cincinnati in the 2021 offseason, Awuzie almost instantly became the team’s top corner. Losing him late last season arguably changed the outcome of the year.
Nonetheless, he’s looking good after returning to 7-on-7 action at practice.
Awuzie replaced rookie D.J. Ivey in the drill.
“It’s a lift anytime you see a leader and someone who has been through an injury of that magnitude come all the way back. Everyone has seen him rehab, everyone has seen him in the meetings, everyone has seen him work hard. But to see him get back on the field, it was a good sight to see,” cornerbacks coach Charles Burks told Bengals.com’s Geoff Hobson.
Let’s just say reports coming out of Bengals Camp on their cornerback are only positive, and that’s a great thing to hear if you’re a fan.