When news surfaced that Emmanuel Lamur suffered a season-ending injury against the Colts, immediate reaction turned to the status of Thomas Howard. The former outside linebacker, who suffered an ACL injury prior to the team's week two (beat-down) of the Cleveland Browns, led the seventh-ranked defense with 120 tackles in 2011.
The team invited Thomas Howard for a workout on Tuesday, determining how far along Howard is with his ACL rehabilitation. Of the team's chemical make-up on the 53-man roster, linebacker has the most pressing need without a serviceable coverage linebacker -- the void left by the injured Lamur. According to Pro Football Focus, Howard scored the highest pass coverage grade (+7.5) on the entire defense (secondary included) during his lone full season with the Bengals.
But don't expect anything soon. Writes Geoff Hobson, "there were no indications that club is going to sign him in the near future as it continues to monitor his progress."
According to Joe Reedy with the Cincinnati Enquirer, the Bengals also invited linebacker Tyrone McKenzie to Cincinnati on Tuesday. McKenzie, a former third-round pick during the 2009 NFL draft by the New England Patriots, tore his ACL during rookie minicamp that year and subsequently placed on Injured Reserve. He's been a practice squad journeyman since.
McKenzie was released during final cuts on Sept. 5, 2010, then spent two months on their practice squad before his eventual release on Nov. 6, 2010. Two days later he was signed onto Tampa Bay's practice squad prior to his 53-man promotion on Dec. 14, 2010. He was released during final cuts in 2011.
McKenzie moved on to the Vikings practice squad on Sept. 7, 2011, named to the 53-man roster prior to the 2012 regular season opener. Playing the full 16-game schedule, McKenzie generated 12 tackles and a forced fumble but all on special teams -- he only had six defensive snaps that year. McKenzie was released by the Vikings last weekend.