Notes: Marv Jones, Rex return; McCarron hopeful

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Rex Burkhead appeared at practice for the first time Tuesday since he injured his knee Aug. 16.

The Bengals held a light, one-hour workout before they headed out for their bye Tuesday, but it was more like a day for the veterans to kick back on the last day of school.

As advertised, wide receiver Marvin Jones (foot) and running back Rex Burkhead (knee) returned to practice after being out since mid-August.

The defense's two main off-season rehab clients, cornerback Leon Hall and tackle Geno Atkins, had the day off, as did offensive line veterans who eased into the season with knee issues: left tackle Andrew Whitworth and guards Clint Boling and Mike Pollak.

Also sitting out were end Carlos Dunlap and tackle Marshall Newhouse. Pro Bowl linebacker Vontaze Burfict surfaced on the field for the first time since a Sept. 14 concussion and helped out the linebackers but wasn't suited up, indicating he's in the last stages  of the NFL concussion protocol.

Also getting a break was defensive end Margus Hunt after he got dinged late in Sunday's win over Tennessee.

REMEMBER HIM?: A.J. McCarron is just fine, thank you.

McCarron, the rookie quarterback who won two national titles at Alabama, says he's ready to join the active roster after spending all season rehabbing his throwing shoulder. He's eligible to return in a few weeks, but he's looked crisp on the side for the last month.

 "I feel great. It's up to them," McCarron said. "They've  talked to me about it, from Coach (Marvin) Lewis to Mr. (Mike) Brown and they want me to make sure I take it slow and take all the time I need. But I'm anxious to get out there and practice."

The Bengals had chalked this up as a red-shirt year for McCarron even back when they took him in the fifth round back in May. So they want to make sure his shoulder is as strong as possible before he gets back on the field.

McCarron has had a few chats with Brown, the Bengals president and  former Dartmouth quarterback.

"You can tell he played the position," McCarron said. "We've talked about things like throwing motion and mechanics."

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