While the only sounds in an empty Paul Brown Stadium were the soft thuds of a football following a catch or a kick and an occasional grunt or laugh from a player during warmups, the Bengals released their first game day inactive list of the 2020s. Then with 90 minute to go before kickoff the music came on.
The Bengals took a nod to special teams when they unveiled their available players for Sunday's opener (4:05 p.m.-Cincinnati's Local 12) against the Chargers and added one more player making his NFL debut.
Safety Trayvon Henderson and defensive end Amani Bledsoe, promoted from the practice squad Saturday, got the call when they put defensive tackle Geno Atkins (shoulder) and safety Shawn Williams (calf) on the inactive list after both were ruled out Friday.
Bledsoe joins rookie quarterback Joe Burrow, second-year left tackle Jonah Williams and rookie linebackers Akeem Davis-Gaither and Logan Wilson making their NFL debuts, among others, but he and Henderson have been around.
Henderson has been here since 2018, when he arrived as a college free agent out of Hawaii and would have made the team that season if he didn't tear an ACL making an interception in the pre-season finale. He got called up from last season's practice squad to play in the final four games and made an impression in the kicking game.
Bledsoe, a college free agent, signed during training camp after he spent all last season on the Titans practice squad.
The Bengals opted to go with just four cornerbacks and five linebackers when they deactivated cornerbacks LeShaun Sims and Torry McTyer and rookie linebacker Markus Bailey. It looks like they may be anticipating a run-oriented attack from the Chargers with nine defensive linemen active, including rookie end Khalid Kareem, making his debut.
Joining Atkins, Williams, Sims, McTyer and Bailey on the inactive list were running back Trayveon Williams and guard Shaq Calhoun.
The Bengals hope to get Sims, a free-agent pickup from the Titans, up and going soon with his recent return to the club after dealing with a personal issue. Darius Phillips makes his third NFL start at cornerback.
Chargers inactives include WR Jason Moore, CB Tevaughn Campbell, C Mike Pouncey, G Trai Turner, T Storm Norton, TE Donald Parham Jr. and DT Cortez Broughton.