CINCINNATI -- The season is just getting started for the Cincinnati Bengals, but it has already come to a close for longtime defensive end Robert Geathers.
The Bengals announced Wednesday that Geathers suffered a season-ending elbow injury Monday night in the team's 20-10 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. The team placed him on the Reserve/Injured list Wednesday.
Geathers, who has spent each of his 10 season in the league with the Bengals, was rewarded with a three-year, $10 million deal prior to this season. Despite being replaced in the starting lineup by Carlos Dunlap, the 30-year-old was expected to contribute as a backup pass rusher. Coaches were also counting on Geathers to provide leadership on the field and in the locker room.
The former Georgia Bulldog had missed just 10 games in his 10-year career. Geathers has recorded 304 tackles and 33.0 sacks during his career, including 30 tackles and three sacks last season.
While Geathers hasn't recorded a tackle this season, his reps will need to be replaced in the rotation.
Coming off the practice field Wednesday, defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer indicated linebacker James Harrison might be an option to take some of the extra snaps, according to Bengals.com.
Zimmer pointed out the fact Harrison, 35, was used as a rush end in Pittsburgh, where he spent his entire career before joining the Bengals prior to this season. The Kent State product has 618 tackles and 64 sacks since coming into the league in 2002.
Harrison was on the field for just 14 snaps Monday because of "personnel matchups," according to Zimmer. Zimmer said he's looking for ways to get Harrison on the field against passing teams.
Zimmer may also add second-round pick Margus Hunt to the mix. The 6-foot-8, 280-pound freak of an athlete was noted for his athletic prowess at SMU but is still considered a project at defensive end.
Other Defensive Moves
The Bengals also made a pair of moves to bolster their defensive secondary on Wednesday.
The team re-signed free agent safety Jeromy Miles, a fourth-year NFL player out of Massachusetts. The 6-foot-2, 214-pound defensive back played for the Bengals in this year’s season opener at Chicago but was waived on Monday of this week.
Miles had been battling a hamstring injury and was limited in practices this week. He was listed as doubtful on Saturday's injury report and was waived by the team to make room on the 53-man roster for University of Cincinnati product J.K. Schaffer.
Miles has played his entire NFL career with Cincinnati, seeing action in 39 games since 2010. He was second on the team in special teams tackles last season and led the special teams in tackles in 2011.
Cincinnati also signed free agent cornerback Curtis Marsh, a third-year player out of Utah State. A tall cornerback at 6-foot-1, Marsh entered the NFL in 2011 after being selected in the third round by Philadelphia, where he played in 22 games during the 2011-12 seasons. He appeared in 15 contests last season, accumulating 10 special teams tackles and six tackles on defense.
Marsh was with the Eagles in the 2013 preseason but missed time with a hand fracture. He was waived by Philadelphia on Sept. 5.
End Of The Road For A Hometown Favorite?
The Bengals also decided to part ways with Schaffer, who attended UC after a standout career at La Salle High School.
He was with the Bengals in the preseason and played in this past Monday’s game against Pittsburgh after being signed from the practice squad.
An undersized linebacker at only 6-feet tall and 232 pounds, Schaffer has not yet played in a regular-season game but became a fan favorite this preseason. He appeared in all four games and recorded a combined 20 tackles, a sack and an interception.
An undrafted free agent out of UC in 2012, the 23-year-old has also spent parts of the past two seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Tampa Buccaneers.
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