Bengals put Malcolm in the middle

6-11-2001

Offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski bagged one for the Bengals off the waiver wire Monday, as Cincinnati acquired wide receiver Malcolm Johnson from the New York Jets.

Johnson, from Notre Dame, was a 5th-round draft choice of Pittsburgh in 1999. He played with the Steelers into November of last season, with Bratkowski as his position coach.

With 11 games played and two catches to show for his first two NFL campaigns, Johnson clearly faces a battle to make the Bengals roster for the 2001 regular season. But although the Jets released him -- after acquiring him on waivers from Pittsburgh last Nov. 21 – he immediately goes to the head of the Bengal wide receivers class in one respect.

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"Malcolm is a big (6-5), strong (215) and physical wide receiver," Bratkowski said. "He has an opportunity here because he gives us some aspects we don't really have."

Clearly, it wasn't Bratkowski who made the call when Pittsburgh released Johnson.

"I consider Malcolm to be a player with a tremendous potential upside," Bratkowski said. "And he's a quality individual with excellent work habits, another positive presence in our locker room."

Johnson earned a marketing degree at Notre Dame while starting on the football team his last three seasons. He set a Fighting Irish record by scoring a TD in six straight games.

He played in six games for the Steelers as a rookie and had 2 catches for 23 yards. He played in four for Pittsburgh last season before being waived, and played in one game (no stats) for the Jets.

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