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Lewis doubts Tez story, elaborates on Hill


Jeremy Hill: surprises Lewis.

Look for the Bengals to sign a running back to the active roster as early as Tuesday to fill the vacancy left by Jeremy Hill's abrupt departure to season-ending injured reserve on Saturday.

Since Hill was a surprise scratch last week in Jacksonville with an ankle issue, there had been indications head coach Marvin Lewis was mystified by the injury. On Monday Lewis admitted he's surprised Hill has opted for surgery now.

"Jeremy thinks he needs to have ankle surgery," Lewis said in his Monday news conference. "He's consulted a couple of physicians, both said this is something that could wait until after the season, and he just felt like it was causing too much discomfort."

Lewis was surprised to learn that Hill had tweaked his ankle in the practice the day before the Jaguars game.
Then last week Hill said he's been battling the injury since last season.

"I don't think he had any instance of it since this August when he rolled his ankle during training camp, or pre-game warmups, or whenever it was," Lewis said. "I can't remember exactly. But that's the only instance that he had this fall."

It has been speculated since the Bengals drafted Joe Mixon in the second round earlier this year that Hill is most likely headed to free agency after this season. He'll be heading in with a surgically-repaired ankle.

Lewis responded skeptically to Adam Schefter's report for ESPN quoting an unnamed Bengal that officials are provoking linebacker Vontaze Burfict by cursing at him and initiating contact.

Burfict got ejected late in the first half Sunday in Tennessee for brushing away an official that broke up a confrontation between him and Titans offensive lineman Jake Conklin. That came two snaps after Burfict was flagged for unnecessary roughness when he bumped Titans running back DeMarco Murray after the play well out-of-bounds, two penalties that some teammates said after the game were borderline.

"I think he's getting targeted a lot," said wide receiver A.J. Green. "On some of those plays I don't think anybody else would make it. They wouldn't get that call. I think he just has a target on his back. That's the way he is. He's an emotional guy. That's the guy we want. I wouldn't trade him for anybody in the world."

Defensive lineman Chris Smith didn't see the ejection play, but he thought Burfict tried to hold up on Murray.
"My opinion, yeah it," Smith said of targeting.  "I think they say before the game, 'Watch 5, 5.' The (unnecessary roughness penalty) they called on him, he literally threw his hands up. He just bumped the guy … What else are you supposed to do? … If that's what they're going to call that's what they're going to call, but I didn't really think that was fair."

On Monday, Schefter found an anonymous teammate to say more than that in charges the NFL denied and Lewis doubted. A source close to Burfict also told him he's upset with officials and feels he is being singled out.

"It would shock me if those things occur. I know on occasions supposedly they have, but again that would shock me," Lewis said. "The officials have a job to do. I've explained this to Vontaze; he understands that. They have a job to do and they are going to separate players if players are in a situation where they (need to be separated). That's not what this is about, or where the NFL should be. So, get back to the huddle and get going. That's the most important thing. We don't need to jaw with anyone after the play — any of the players. That's important."

Cincinnati Bengals take on the Tennessee Titans in week 10 of the regular season.

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