After putting the Bengals through their warmups for Thursday's workout under the lights at a December gray Paul Brown Stadium, head strength and conditioning coach Chip Morton gave rookie linebacker Chris Worley the honor of breaking the huddle and dispersing the players to their position drills.
Why not? First of all, he's one of the few linebackers left standing with Jordan Evans (ankle) still not working in a week rookie Malik Jefferson (toe) saw his season end on injured reserve. That's why he got promoted from the practice squad on Tuesday. And, of course, he's a Cleveland native as one of more than 20 players from Glenville High School that have gone to Ohio State since 2002 on a list that includes 2006 Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith.
Worley calls himself "a football junkie," so it's not lost on him what the game means if he ends up playing in it. As an early disciple of the NFL Network, he knew all about Bengals founder Paul Brown's high school roots that grew about an hour away from Glenville. His coach at Ohio State, Urban Meyer, made sure they knew about the Buckeyes' national title teams and Brown gave them that first one in 1940 before starting the pro franchises in Cleveland and Cincinnati. Worley can't help but feel the kinship.
"Paul Brown down there in Massillon, that's not too far from where I'm from. So you definitely hear the stories about the success he had with the Browns and the success he had at Ohio State and the success he had here," Worley said. "He's the coach of all coaches. He's a ground breaker. He started a lot of things that the NFL is doing now. It's amazing that I'm just a part of every group that he has had a piece of in football."
The Bengals continue to prepare for its week 16 matchup against the Cleveland Browns with practice at Paul Brown Stadium.
Wide receiver Tyler Boyd (knee) and cornerback Tony McRae (hamstring) joined Evans on the did not practice list Thursday. Right guard Alex Redmond returned after missing Wednesday with an illness.
With 15 players on injured reserve that include A.J. Green and Andy Dalton, it's hard to believe there are teams more impacted by injuries than the Bengals. But according to ManGamesLost.com the most injured teams through Week 15 are Washington and Philadelphia with the Eagles are most impacted by injuries, according to the web site's metrics.