Bengals right end Michael Johnson said Sunday he's returning to the Bengals a day after he was released in the cut to 53.
The Bengals have to make a corresponding move and figure to do it before Monday afternoon's practice as they prep for next Sunday's opener (1 p.m.-Cincinnati's Channel 12) in Indianapolis. The opener against the Colts marks Johnson's defense-leading 127th Bengals' game, tying him with Super Bowl right end Ross Browner and leaving him behind only nose tackles Tim Krumrie (188) and Domata Peko (171) and ends Eddie Edwards (170) and Robert Geathers (152) for games played on the franchise's defensive line.
Johnson, 31, a stalwart in the locker room and community, said simply, "It's a big week. We're on to Indianapolis," and left the move at that.
Because of his age and salary cap number (about $5 million), Johnson has been a hot-button name for a potential release, particularly in wake of the training camp departures of a pair of starters, wide receiver Brandon LaFell and safety George Iloka. But Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis and defensive line coach Jacob Burney haven't wavered in their beliefs that he's a savvy and effective player that has done damage in his relatively new role as an inside rusher at tackle on passing downs.
The return of Johnson probably puts a dent in the annual PhillyVoice survey conducted by Jimmy Kempski that charts each NFL team's average age on Opening Day. After Saturday's cuts, he had the Bengals with the youngest roster in the NFL at 25.2 years old with the Browns next at 25.3 and the Cowboys third youngest at 25.4. But Johnson probably ends up putting the Bengals behind the Browns and maybe even with the Cowboys, assuming a younger guy gets cut.
Last year Kempski had the Browns the youngest at 24.2, the Rams next at 25.1 and then the Bengals at 25.5. The Rams were coming off a run where they were the youngest team in the league ever since the survey began in 2012.