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Bengals, fans will miss Michael Johnson

Team makes cuts to 53 players
Posted: 5:06 PM, Sep 01, 2018
Updated: 2018-09-02 23:11:46Z
Bengals, fans will miss Michael Johnson

CINCINNATI - Michael Johnson is the kind of person you want on your football team - especially a team that has often been character-challenged.

But the Bengals said goodbye again – presumably for good – to the one-time defensive stalwart and fan favorite on Saturday.

The release of the nine-year defensive end reflects his salary, the emergence of young players on the defensive line and the aging process. That may be good for the team - inevitable, even - but it's still a shame, because the Bengals are losing a good man.

Johnson, 31, is the rare kind of NFL player who gave his Super Bowl tickets to police officers and donated school supplies to kids.  He always was a good citizen and role model.

Usually with no cameras in sight, Johnson devoted many hours to kids in the community and started the MJ90Foundation.  He was the Bengals' 2017 nominee for the Walton Payton NFL Man of the Year Award.

Here's an example of the good work he did in the community from last month:

 

Did I forget to mention he used to be a damn good defensive end?

Johnson played eight of his nine NFL seasons with the Bengals and used his long arms to knock down passes and wrap up opposing quarterbacks. His enthusiasm on the field was contagious. He went to Tampa Bay in free agency in 2014 but re-signed with the Bengals the next season.

Even coach Marvin Lewis, who doesn’t usually mourn the departure of players on cut-down day, paid his respects to Johnson.

"He’s one of those pillars that’s been here, given everything he can to this building,” Lewis said of Johnson.

Lewis shared that compliment with two others players released Saturday, H-back Ryan Hewitt and center T.J. Johnson. He said it was a difficult decision to let the three veterans go.

“Those are tough conversations to have, just like it was with Ryan Hewitt and T.J. Johnson, guys who gave everything they had," Lewis said.

The Bengals have been whittling away at salaries to help pay for the contract extensions they gave to  DT Geno Atkins and DE Carlos Dunlap this week. Last month, they released six-year safety George Iloka and WR Brandon LaFell. They also dumped CB Adam "Pacman" Jones in the offseason.

RELATED: Bengals turning the spotlight on their youth.

As vested veterans, the two Johnsons and Hewitt are free to sign with another team or even re-sign with the Bengals.

The Bengals placed QB Matt Barkley (knee injury) on the Reserve/Injured list, making Jeff Driskel the backup QB assuming they don’t snatch a QB from another team’s cut list. But it won't be A.J. McCarron, A.J. Dalton's backup the past four years. The Bills traded him to the Raiders on Saturday.

Lewis didn't want to specify whether Barkley's injury in Thursday’s night final preseason season game factored into decision to give the backup QB job to Driskel or if Driskel had already done enough in an impressive preseason to win it.

Notable players waived included rookie linebacker Brandon Bell, second-year H-back Jordan Franks, second-year halfback Brian Hill. and fourth-year safety Josh Shaw. Shaw may revert to Reserve/Injured if he's not claimed by Sunday, the Bengals said.

The Bengals made 32 roster moves to get to the 53-player limit by 4 p.m. Saturday. More moves are possible before Sunday’s season opener at Indianapolis once  all NFL teams scan the others’ cut lists.

Placed three players on the Reserve/Injured list:    

QB Matt Barkley (sixth-year player, Southern California; knee injury)    

H-B Cethan Carter (second-year player, Nebraska; shoulder injury)  

S Trayvon Henderson (rookie, Hawaii; knee injury)

Terminated the contract of three vested veterans:

H-B Ryan Hewitt (fifth-year player, Stanford)        

DE Michael Johnson (10th-year player, Georgia Tech)  

C T.J. Johnson (fifth-year player, South Carolina)  

Waived 25 players

(Two of these players are waived/injured and will revert to the Bengals’ Reserve/Injured list Sunday if they clear waivers):

LB Brandon Bell (first-year player, Penn State)  

S Tyrice Beverette (rookie, Stony Brook)    

TE Moritz Böhringer (first-year player, Aalen [Germany])  

WR Devonte Boyd (rookie, Nevada-Las Vegas)  

DT Andrew Brown (rookie, Virginia)

K Jonathan Brown (first-year player, Louisville)    

HB Quinton Flowers (rookie, South Florida)    

H-B Jordan Franks (rookie, Central Florida)

CB C.J. Goodwin (third-player, California [Pa.])    

HB Brian Hill (second-year player, Wyoming)    

LB Junior Joseph (rookie, Connecticut)    

C Brad Lundblade (rookie, Oklahoma State)  

WR Jared Murphy (rookie, Miami [Ohio])    

OT Justin Murray (first-year player, Cincinnati)    

DT Chris Okoye (rookie, Ferris State; injured, may revert to Reserve/Injured)  

OT Kent Perkins (first-year player, Texas)      

DT Simeyon Robinson (rookie, James Madison)  

WR Kayaune Ross (rookie, Kentucky)      

CB KeiVarae Russell (third-year player, Notre Dame)  

S Josh Shaw (fourth-year player, Southern California; injured, may revert to Reserve/Injured)

WR Ka’Raun White (rookie, West Virginia)    

WR Kermit Whitfield (first-year player, Florida State)

DT Eddy Wilson (rookie, Purdue)    

QB Logan Woodside (rookie, Toledo)  

LB Chris Worley (rookie, Ohio State)

Placed one player on the Reserve/Suspended by Commissioner list:  

LB Vontaze Burfict (seventh-year player, Arizona State, suspended for four games)

Waived players are eligible to be signed to an NFL practice squad if they clear waivers Sunday. 

Practice squad

The Bengals announced 10 members of their practice squad Sunday. Instead of the usual 10 players, the Bengals get to sign 11 players to the squad because of the inclusion of German TE Mortiz Bohringer, who is an International Player Pathway participant. One spot on the 11-man squad remains open.

The squad includes:

TE Moritz Böhringer (first-year player, Aalen [Germany])

Andrew Brown (rookie, Virginia)

HB Quinton Flowers (rookie, South Florida)

H-B Jordan Franks (rookie, Central Florida)

CB C.J. Goodwin (third-year player, California [Pa.])

C Brad Lundblade (rookie, Oklahoma State)

OT Kent Perkins (first-year player, Texas)

CB KeiVarae Russell (third-year player, Notre Dame)

WR Kermit Whitfield (first-year player, Florida State)

LB Chris Worley (rookie, Ohio State)