After one NFL snap to his credit, Bengals linebacker Sean Porter went on season-ending injured reserve for the second time in as many years Tuesday after suffering a torn ACL on Sunday night's opening kickoff in New England.
The Bengals replaced him on the roster when they claimed linebacker Khairi Fortt on waivers after the Saints mysteriously cut him last week. The Saints felt good enough about the 6-2, 240-pound Fortt after they drafted him in the fourth round this year to put him on injured reserve-recall when he suffered an unspecified leg injury in preseason.
Fortt was scheduled to return to practice after the Saints' bye this week, but waived him with no explanation even though he didn't count on the roster and New Orleans is ranked 25th in defense. It's believed he's expected to pass his Bengals physical.
During training camp Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan was moved to say about Fortt after they moved him from inside to outside, "He's an excellent rusher, but he's an excellent talent. The kid can cover, he can rush, he can hit. So we love those type of guys. They drafted a great player for us."
Don't look for Fortt to rush the passer here, but the Bengals had a good grade on him coming out of California and is viewed as an athletic guy who can run (he ran a 4.7-second 40-yard dash at the NFL scouting combine) and cover and potentially play all three spots. Fortt, 22, a product of Stamford, Conn., was tied for the strongest backer at the combine with 30 reps of 225 pounds. He played on the outside at WILL at both Penn State and at Cal, where he transferred following the extensive NCAA sanctions.
NFL.com scouted him before the draft and concluded, "A better athlete than football player at this stage of his development…making a premature jump to the NFL. Speedy, finesse, see-and-go reactor who looks the part and has intriguing, starter-caliber athleticism to fit on the weak side in a fast-flowing 4-3 where he's freed up to chase the ball. Must sharpen his eyes and instincts to reach his potential."
The web site also said Fortt "has traits to excel on special teams," and we may find out right away. One of the problems for the Bengals Sunday night was that Porter's injury forced starting WILL backer Vincent Rey to play a combined 101 snaps from scrimmage and on teams. The return of Pro Bowl WILL backer Vontaze Burfict (concussion) for Sunday's 1 p.m. game against the Panthers at Paul Brown Stadium would ease things.
With center Trevor Robinson signed off the Bengals practice squad and probably starting for the Chargers this week, the Bengals figure to work out some people to fill his spot but don't seem in a rush. Robinson started seven games as a rookie in 2012 and gives a Chargers club reeling from injury at that spot some badly needed experience as San Diego is faced with starting its fourth center in six weeks.
Backing up rookie center Russell Bodine for the Bengals is Mike Pollak, now currently playing right guard for the injured Kevin Zeitler. But Zeitler (calf) looked good in Sunday night warmups and could be back this week. The Bengals also have starting left guard Clint Boling and backup guard-center T.J. Johnson available to snap.