BenJarvus Green-Ellis lugged the ball to two post-season berths in Cincinnati.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis, who did what only Pete Johnson did before him in Bengals' annals, has been replaced by another big back.
With news from CBS Sports that Green-Ellis is one of Friday's cuts, it solidifies what everyone knew after they took LSU running back Jeremy Hill in the May draft. Hill is the banger complement to starter Giovani Bernard while Cedric Peerman and Rex Burkhead round out the running back position as spot players and special teamers. It remains to be seen if both Peerman and Burkhead are active for games, but Burkhead (knee) won't be available for the first month of the season.
The Bengals cut three others Friday ahead of Saturday's final cuts. Quarterback Tyler Wilson, defensive tackle LaKendrick Ross, and linebacker Brandon Joiner were waived. With rookie quarterback A.J. McCarron possibly starting the season on the physically unable to perform list (PUP) and missing the first six weeks of practice, don't look for the Bengals to keep another quarterback on the practice squad.
The massive Ross (6-4, 360 pounds) is big enough that he may warrant a shot on the practice squad and made a couple of plays after signing at the beginning of training camp, but he's extremely raw after playing just two seasons of football.
Green-Ellis, 29, arrived in 2012 from fresh from a Super Bowl appearance with the Patriots and with a reputation as a winner and impeccable locker room leader. He performed as advertised and was the lead back for consecutive playoff runs like Johnson in 1981-82. BJGE's 1,094 yards in 2012 was a career-high and last season punched it over against his former mates on fourth-and-one in the fourth quarter for the game's only touchdown in the Bengals' 13-6 victory over New England.
While the Bengals were looking for reliability in 2012, they were looking for something more dynamic in 2014 and Hill's 4.6 yards per 41 carries in the preseason is it. In '12, Green-Ellis' 14 successful carries on 15 3rd-and-1 situations led the NFL and sparked the Bengals to third in the league in third-and-one by converting 81 percent of the time. But the number fell to 58 percent last season and his 3.4 yards average in 2013 is the lowest of his six seasons.
According to The Cincinnati Enquirer, the Bengals save $2.3 million in salary cap room by releasing Green-Ellis as heads into the third year of a $9 million deal. With the Bengals over the $133 million salary cap after the Vontaze Burfict extension, that money is probably ticketed to the pool for replacements for injured players.
Also, it was reported Friday that Bengals cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick has been fined $22,050 for his tackle of Ted Ginn Jr. in the Arizona game Sunday night.