The woes in the Bengals secondary continued to pile up Tuesday in epic proportions when safety Tom Nelson became the eighth defensive back to be lost for the season after he was assigned to the reserve/non-football illness list.
It is believed that Nelson has contracted an illness in which he’ll need more than a couple of weeks to recover and with just three weeks left in the season the Bengals opted to shelve him and use the extra roster spot on former Bengals safety Marvin White.
White, the club’s fourth-round pick in 2007, didn’t get picked up for the regular season after the Lions and the Bengals cut him during the preseason. In two seasons with the Bengals and one with Dallas and Detroit, White played in 40 games with 19 starts, 124 tackles, one interception, 14 passes defensed and 17 special teams tackles.
With injuries to safety Chris Crocker and cornerbacks Johnathan Joseph, Adam Jones, Morgan Trent and Rico Murray, Nelson, a second-year player, had been forced to play the slot corner in the last three games. All but Joseph are on injured reserve and there’s some hope he can play Sunday against Cleveland. It comes one day after starting safety Chinedum Ndukwe (knee) went on injured reserve.
Joining White at safety are current starters Roy Williams and Reggie Nelson, and Jeromy Miles, a rookie free agent from Massachusetts who has been up from the practice squad for the last three games.
Also Tuesday, the Bengals signed safety Cary Harris to the practice squad. The 5-11, 187-pound Harris, a second-year safety, was Buffalo’s sixth-round draft choice in 2009 and played in four games with one start as a rookie with two interceptions, two tackles and two special teams tackles. He opened 2010 training camp with the Bills and played in two regular-season games before his Oct. 22 release. He signed with Minnesota’s practice squad Nov. 24 and was released a week later.