Reports: Bengals’ top cornerback suffered season-ending ACL tear vs. Browns

The injury concerns are starting to pile up for the Cincinnati Bengals.

According to reports, Chidobe Awuzie tore his ACL during Monday night’s game at Cleveland and will miss the rest of the season. Awuzie hobbled off the field late in the second quarter and was immediately declared out for the remainder of the game.

Afterward, Bengals coach Zac Taylor said he hadn’t gotten confirmation on the seriousness of the injury but he indicated it didn’t look “great.”

Awuzie posted on Twitter on Tuesday, “Peace & love. It’s part of the game. God will provide the necessary strength.”

Cincinnati was missing Eli Apple on Monday at the other cornerback spot because of a hamstring injury, thrusting rookie Cam Taylor-Britt into action for his first NFL start perhaps a week or two earlier than expected. Defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo had said early last week the plan was to rotate Taylor-Britt and Apple at least one more game after the two shared snaps in the Oct. 23 win over Atlanta when the rookie second-round draft pick made his debut.

Apple had been limited in the first practice of the week Thursday and ended up not practicing Friday or Saturday. Taylor-Britt struggled early in the game Monday, and when Awuzie went down, Tre Flowers came in but then also ended up on the sideline with a hamstring injury.

Rookie safety Dax Hill finished the game at cornerback.

“It’s tough because Chidobe (CB Chidobe Awuzie) is a guy that is one of the hardest workers on our team and one of the most focused guys,” Taylor said when asked how Awuzie’s exit impacted the game. “Great man of character. He does everything right, does everything to lift up his teammates. He does everything to prepare himself. He is all about the team. He puts his heart and soul into this thing so to see a guy get hit like that is tough.”

Awuzie was targeted 43 times this season, his second with the Bengals, and only allowed 18 catches (42 percent) for 219 yards and no touchdowns. He had six pass breakups and quarterbacks had just a 58 passer rating when targeting Awuzie.

If the Bengals are on the hunt for a replacement from outside in the form of a trade, the deadline is 4 p.m. today.

Cincinnati has been without defensive tackle D.J. Reader and tight end Drew Sample, among key contributors on the injured reserve list, and wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase is expected to miss extended time with a hip injury as well.


Panthers at Bengals, 1 p.m., Fox, 700, 1530, 102.7, 104.7

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