Oct 27, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals middle linebacker Rey Maualuga (58) gets a ride off of the field after being injured in the second quarter agains the New York Jets at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports
When the Cincinnati Bengals lost starting middle linebacker Rey Maualuga to a knee injury late last month, on one thought the special teams ace and career backup Vinnie Rey would be able to fill-in for him. The Bengals had signed Michael Boley in the event that Maualuga did go down with an injury, but with him being out with a hamstring injury too, the job was Vinnie’s.
Opportunity presented itself, and he took it and has run hard and fast with it as he’s notched 30 tackles, three sacks and an interception in three games as the starter.
Needless to say, Maualuga may have to step back and let Vinnie be the starter going forward, and he’s fine with that:
"“I know my strengths and what I can do. In that area, I’m not worried,” Maualuga said. “I can only control what I can, see where I am and what they have me doing. Whenever you have something good going you don’t want to have a setback, but this is something we sign up for.Unfortunately, I got dinged. It’s a rough sport. Did I wake up that Sunday morning thinking I was going to have an MCL sprain? No. It’s a scary position to be in, being carted off the field, but nothing too bad happened as far as a season-ending injury. I just have to strengthen my knee, come back and see what my role is.”"
Maualuga was having a good year before his injury, but Vinnie has played great, and until his play drops off, Maualuga will likely watch from the bench more going forward.