Chris Henry Activated, Kenny Watson Cut
RB Kenny Watson, the Bengals’ leading rusher in 2007, was released today in order to make room on the roster for WR Chris Henry. Watson, who only practiced in limited fashion on Friday as he worked his way back from a hamstring injury, had 173 carries for 763 yards and 7 TDs last season, and an additional 374 yards on 52 receptions. In 2008, Watson had 32 yards on the ground and 3 through the air in the the first three games.
While it has been widely speculated all week that the Bengals would reactivate Henry for the Dallas game, Watson’s release is something of a shocker. With the exception of the 2005 season, most of which he missed due to injury, Kenny has been a solid contributor as a third down/change-of-pace back since 2004, and demonstrated last season that he could shoulder a heavier load if necessary. In fact, the Bengals signed him to a three-year extension in March of 2007.
Word out of practice this week has been that both Henry and newly minted Bengal Cedric Benson looked solid, so perhaps this is simply an indication of the coaching staff’s comfort level with both players. On the other hand, it could be just another Bengals brain fart. This move doesn’t sit well with me. Sending a solid player and, by all accounts, locker room presence, packing in favor of perennial screw-up Henry has “bad call” written all over it.
In equally mystifying transaction news, the Bengals yesterday cut promising young corner Simeon Castille in order to promote former Packer LB Abdul Hodge off the practice squad. It seems likely Castille will find his way back to the practice squad if he clears waivers, but the move leaves the Bengals with just four corners — one of whom, Johnathan Joseph, is coming off an ankle injury — going into tomorrow’s game. Oh, well. Tony Romo certainly has reason to smile today.
Update: see comments for fresh Hobson spin.