One of biggest winners in college history, McCarron is in No. 2 QB role, but took over No. 1 job last season after Andy Dalton suffered thumb fracture Dec. 13 vs. Pittsburgh ... Confident player who inspires respect from teammates, McCarron took sudden promotion and posted 97.1 season passer rating ... First QB in Bengals history to have no INTs in first three starts ... In Wild Card playoff vs. Pittsburgh, led Bengals from 15-0 deficit after three quarters to 16-15 lead, only to see Steelers prevail 18-16 on late FG ... Joined 53-player roster late in 2014 after rehab from college shoulder injury ... Posted 36-4 record in three seasons as Crimson Tide starter, leading national championship teams in 2011 and ’12 ... Set Alabama records for TD passes (77), passing yards (9019) and completion percentage (66.9 ... Finished second in 2013 Heisman Trophy voting behind Florida State QB Jameis Winston.
Career transactions: Selected by Cincinnati in fifth round of 2014 NFL Draft (164th overall) ... Signed with Bengals on 5-22-14.
2016 highlights: Inactive in No. 2 QB role for Games 1-4 ... Posted a 106.8 passer rating in preseason, appearing in all four games.
Previous seasons: 2014—Missed entire preseason with shoulder injury that predated start of training camp, and was placed Aug. 30 on Reserve/Non-Football Injury list ... Cleared to practice on Nov. 18, and activated to roster on Dec. 9 ... Was game day Inactive (coaches’ decision) for Games 14-16 and for Wild Card playoff. 2015—Played in Games 8 and 11-16, with starts in place of injured Andy Dalton in Games 14-16, and also started Wild Card playoff ... Active-DNP for the other nine regular-season games ... Passed 79-for-119 for 854-6-2 in regular season ... His first three game appearances were late mop-up roles, but on Dec. 13 vs. Pittsburgh, he played the last three quarters following injury to Andy Dalton and passed 22-for-32 for 280 yards, with two TDs and two INTs ... Had a perfectly thrown 66-yard TD connection with WR A.J. Green in the Pittsburgh game, but also threw a pick-six ... On Dec. 20 at San Francisco, made his first career start, and posted a 115.6 passer rating, completing 15-of-21 (71.4 percent) for 192 yards, one TD and no INTs ... TD pass at San Francisco was 20 yards to TE Tyler Kroft ... On Dec. 28 at Denver, made his second career start and posted a 87.8 passer rating, completing 22-of-35 (62.9 percent) for 200 yards, one TD, and no INTs, but had a lost fumble in overtime that ended the game ... Efficient 17-for-27 for 160 yards and two TDs Jan. 3 vs. Baltimore, good for 103.9 passer rating ... In Wild Card playoff on 1-9-16 vs. Pittsburgh, passed 23-for-41 for 212-1-1, his TD pass going 25 yards to A.J. Green for 16-15 Bengals lead in fourth quarter ... Made NFL debut in Game 8, Nov. 5 vs. Cleveland, taking game’s final two snaps with kneel-downs as Bengals ran out clock ... Played final three Bengals snaps Nov. 29 vs. St. Louis, and completed first NFL pass on only attempt, a three-yarder to HB Rex Burkhead ... Appeared in three preseason games, passing 38-for-60 (63.3 percent) for 465-1-0.
College: A multiple career-record holder at Alabama, played four seasons (2010-13), with a redshirt year in ’09 ... Played 53 games with 40 starts ... Posted a 36-4 record in three seasons as a Crimson Tide starter, leading national championship teams in 2011 and ’12 ... Only QB to win back-to-back BCS national championships ... Set school records for TD passes (77), passing yards (9019) and completion percentage (66.9), and his INT percentage (1.46) was the lowest in NCAA annals (15 INTs in 1026 attempts) ... In 2013, led Alabama to 11-2 record, and had team in position to reach a third straight BCS title game until Auburn used a 109-yard missed FG return to beat Tide 34-28 on final play of regular-season finale ... Finished second in ’13 Heisman Trophy voting behind Florida State QB Jameis Winston ... Also in ’13, won the Maxwell Award and Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award ... Led 2012 Tide to 13-1 record and second straight BCS title, including 42-14 rout of Notre Dame in championship game ... His ’12 season INT percentage of 0.96 was the lowest ever for an SEC performer (minimum 200 completions) ... In 2011, won starting QB job as a sophomore and led team to a 12-1 record, with 21-0 conquest of LSU in BCS finale.
Personal: Hometown is Mobile, Ala. ... Attended St. Paul’s Episcopal School, where he led the team to a 14-1 record and a state championship as a junior ... Business major at Alabama ... Married (wife is model and television personality Katherine Webb).
NOTE ABOUT NFL EXPERIENCE: McCarron did not earn an accrued year of experience toward NFL free agency in 2014 because he was not on a 53-player roster, a Reserve/Injured list or a Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform list for the required minimum of six games.
One of the things that AJ McCarron could control back in the day is the splitter that Jake Peavy taught his fellow St. Paul’s Episcopal School alum when Peavy came back from the majors to visit his hometown of Mobile, Ala. But the one-time aspiring big-league hurler is learning there's only so much he can control as a back-up quarterback in the NFL.
Max Montoya, the best right guard you don’t know, is the best reason for celebrating 50 seasons of Bengals. Montoya isn’t the only reason of course, but guys like him are the best reasons. Guys like the two Kennys, quarterback Ken Anderson, and cornerback Ken Riley. Guys like wide receiver Isaac Curtis and tight end Danny Ross. Guys like David Fulcher. If fans can remember how good these guys really were, then that’s the best reason. And the stories ....
Bengals executive vice president Katie Blackburn asked and in turn she received the club’s first Paul Brown Stadium opener in the seven seasons of the A.J. Green-Andy Dalton Era. The Bengals kick off their 50th anniversary season with not one but back-to-back home games to start the year for the first time since 1983.