A.J. McCarron lives.
On Tuesday the Bengals cleared him to begin practicing for the first time since he re-aggravated his throwing shoulder injury and it will be protected from the cold Wednesday and Thursday when they head into the University of Cincinnati's bubble.
But it doesn't mean anything other than McCarron gets to practice. They still see him as developmental player, but now he's a year behind and remains on the reserve/non-football injury list, where the Bengals placed him with an injury that predated the start of training camp. Ever since he arrived in the fifth round in last May's draft, McCarron has battled shoulder tightness.
The Bengals now have three weeks to put him on the 53-man roster, or keep him on reserve/NFI and end his season, or cut him. They won't cut him, but it's also hard to see them keeping three quarterbacks down the stretch.
The Bengals also did some maintenance on the practice squad Tuesday, cutting linebacker Justin Jackson after a two-week stay and replacing him with linebacker Terrell Manning.
The 6-3, 237-pound Manning is a 2012 fifth-round pick of the Packers from North Carolina State who has played in nine games with three clubs. He played in five games as a rookie with Green Bay, one game with the Chargers in 2013 and three games with the Bears this season. The Bears cut him Oct. 14, signed him to the practice squad the next day and cut him last week. He played this preseason with the Giants and went to the practice squads in Miami and Chicago before getting the calls to the Bears' active roster.