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Brewer heads to IR again

11-5-02, 2:50 p.m.

Updated: 11-5-02, 7:10 p.m.


For the second time in his two –year career, tight end Sean Brewer ends his season on injured reserve. And for the second time he wonders why because he feels like he is going to be healthy enough to play at some point.

Last year, it was a groin injury he sustained in the first week of training camp that iced him for the entire year. This year, when he was the starter, it's a torn knee cartilage that didn't respond and required two arthroscopic surgeries in five weeks.

"I'm very disappointed with the decision. I want to play and prove my worth so to speak," Brewer said Tuesday. "I don't understand it, but I'm not going to speculate on it. We were talking about seeing if I might be able to go this week, so it's a disappointment."

The Bengals, whose two tight-end formations have been virtually non-existent since Brewer's knee injury in the third game of the season, said they needed to pursue other options at this point in the season. They activated promising tight end Chris Edmonds from the practice squad, but he has never been active for a NFL game as a linebacker, never mind as a tight end.

Although Brewer said his knee felt much better after the second "scope," on Oct. 29, the Bengals apparently didn't see much improvement when he tired to work on it this past Monday.

"He's done everything we've asked and has worked hard in rehab," said trainer Paul Sparling. "Because

he hasn't practiced in seven weeks, it's going to take him several weeks to get back into football shape. His knee did not respond to saving as much cartilage as possible the first time and ultimately he had another tear that required another scope. This gives him adequate time to rehab it and get ready for next year."

Brewer was supposed to return for either one of the last two games. But when his progress from arthroscopic surgery slowed following the Sept. 22 injury in Atlanta, he had another "scope," last week when it was revealed he had another tear.

Brewer, a third-round pick from 2001, has been active for just three games, is still looking for his first NFL catch, and realizes people will continue to question his already controversial selection even more vehemently.

"After two years, all I've got under my belt is three pre-season games and two and a half regular season games," Brewer said. "And a whole lot of practice time, but that means nothing. All I can do is get ready for next year."

When he comes back next year, rookie Matt Schobel probably is going to be the clear No. 1. Five of Schobel's 10 catches have come in the last two games, one for a touchdown.

The transition is now complete for Edmonds, in his second season out of West Virginia as a college free agent. He spent most of his rookie season on the practice squad last year as a linebacker before making the position switch in minicamp.

"We don't know how long it's going to take for (Brewer) to come around and by the time he does get back there will be little time and we have to move on with what we have to do," said Bengals President Mike Brown. "Edmonds is a guy who has shown some pop and speed and he'll be able to go into a game for us."

The Bengals have been playing with basically just one tight end in Schobel. Fullback Nick Williams is being used as a move tight end in running situations, but the Brewer injury has forced them out of traditional two tight end-sets. Now they might be able to do more if they decide to activate Edmonds for games.

With the promotion of cornerback Reggie Myles off the practice squad last week, the Bengals now have two slots open on the squad. They signed former Kentucky tight end Derek Smith Tuesday and hope to fill out the squad Wednesday in signing former Central Florida linebacker Tito Rodriguez, a player they released before the season.

The 6-4, 263-pound Smith is a local kid who played at Highlands High School in Fort Thomas, Ky. Since the Colts released him after training camp, he has been working at the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Airport while continuing his workouts and waiting for a shot.

Also Tuesday, the Bengals cleared defensive tackle Mario Monds to practice. Monds, a University of Cincinnati defensive tackle, tore his anterior cruciate knee ligament back in March while working with NFL Europe.

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