To clear out the cobwebs and get the team back into routine after a bye week, the Bengals practiced on Monday with a handful of players finally returning to the field.
According to reports from beat writers observing the first 30 minutes of practice, everyone practiced on Monday with the exception of offensive guard Kevin Zeitler and linebacker James Harrison.
That means Devon Still, who has been out since Detroit with a dislocated elbow, is practicing for the first time this month. Still's injury, compounded by Geno Atkins' season-ending ACL tear, has forced some creative thinking by Cincinnati's defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer. Brandon Thompson has taken a bulk of the team's snaps against the run, but also rotated Wallace Gilberry (which is usual) and linebacker James Harrison into position.
Rey Maualuga returned to practice on the Friday before the Browns game, but he figures to inch closer towards his pre-injury role as a two-down linebacker -- though the emergence of Vincent Rey may change things. Safety Chris Crocker, who sat against the Cleveland Browns last week, also returned on Monday. Crocker missed every practice last week with a hamstring.
The significant concern appears to be Zeitler, who suffered a foot injury during the first play of the fourth quarter against the Ravens and missed the team's week 12 win over Cleveland. Backup guard Mike Pollak struggled as a run blocker but was solid in pass protection allowing only two pressures.
Harrison also missed the Friday practice before the Browns game with a calf injury, but gutted through the game and even ignited the team's eventual comeback during a man-sized pick-six that was negated on a penalty during the return.
Players are off on Tuesday before they resume normal routine on Wednesday.