CINCINNATI - Never mind that the Bengals officially released Michael Johnson on Saturday. That was a ruse.
The club kept the nine-year veteran defensive end and re-signed him to a one-year deal, the team announced Monday. They also added former Jets-Eagles QB Christian Hackenberg to the practice squad.
Johnson himself told Bengals.com on Sunday that he was staying - well, in so many words.
“It’s a big week. We’re on to Indianapolis,” he said in the locker room, referring to the season opener Sunday against the Colts.
NFL clubs needed to cut down to 53 players on Saturday and the Bengals had to make 32 roster moves to do so. When they added Johnson to the official roster on Monday, they had to remove someone else. They put rookie cornerback Davontae Harris (knee) on injured reserve.
As a vested veteran, Johnson became free to sign with any team upon his release. It's possible he didn't get any other suitable offers or he didn't even listen to any. It's possible he and the Bengals had worked out a deal in advance.
Johnson has played eight of his nine NFL seasons with the Bengals. He went to Tampa Bay in free agency in 2014 but re-signed with the Bengals the next season.
Hackenberg, drafted by the Jets in 2016, hasn't played in a regular-season NFL game. The Bengals are his fourth team since May when the Jets traded him to the Raiders. The Raiders cut him in June, and he was signed by the Eagles in August. Hackenberg played in the Eagles' final preseason game last Thursday and was cut the next day. He was 7-of-16 for 69 yards and two interceptions.
The Bengals returned 10 players they waived Saturday to their practice squad on Sunday. Instead of the usual 10, 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.
The Raiders claimed one of the players waived by the Bengals, offensive tackle Justin Murray from UC.
The Bengals practice squad includes:
TE Moritz Böhringer (first-year player, Aalen [Germany])
DT 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.])
QB Christian Hackenberg (third-year player, Penn State)
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)