Jeremi Johnson to IR; Maui'a signed
By GEOFF HOBSON
September 3, 2008
Updated: 5:40 p.m.
Dan Coats' first start at NFL fullback is going to be a doozy.
Marvin Lewis revealed at Wednesday's news conference that fullback Jeremi Johnson has been lost for the season with a knee injury he suffered in Monday's practice.
That pits Coats, a second-year converted tight end, going against the Ravens' Pro Bowl inside linebackers that key one of the NFL's top run defenses in Ray Lewis and Bart Scott.
That leaves the Bengals one shy of the 53-man limit and Lewis said they may or may not add a player before Opening Day. One possible option, an industry source outside Cincinnati said Wednesday, is they are considering signing Reagan Maui'a, a fullback recently cut by the Dolphins after a rookie year he made nine starts following his selection out of Hawaii in the sixth round.
The Bengals confirmed Maui'a's signing late Wednesday afternoon. The 6-0, 260-pound Maui'a, a native of American Samoa who went to high school in California, played in all 16 games for Miami last year.
If they fill the 53rd spot before the opener, it wouldn't go to a vested veteran like safety Eugene Wilson, whose salary would be guaranteed if on Sunday's roster. But wide receiver Chad Jackson, visiting Cincinnati on Wednesday, isn't vested.
But indications are that Jackson won't be signed this week, according to his agent.
Lewis said Jeremi Johnson underwent a scope Wednesday, ending a brief stint on the field. Johnson, hampered by weight issues, didn't get on the field until a few days before the third preseason game against the Saints.
Coats did get a bunch of snaps in his stead and was the first-team fullback until Johnson returned. Coats, a free agent out of BYU, becomes the first fullback to play other than Johnson since Lorenzo Neal went to the Pro Bowl in 2002. The opener is the first game Johnson has missed in his NFL career, a skein of 81 that began when he was selected in the fourth round out of Western Kentucky in 2003.