Posted: 2:25 p.m.
GEORGETOWN, Ky. - Last Friday, Matt Sherry was driving a Budget moving van to his new apartment in Boston. On Thursday he's about to take the field for the Bengals 3 p.m. practice as their most experienced tight end.
The Bengals signed Sherry on Thursday and were trying to get another one in here, but one had already signed on elsewhere and the others apparently weren't deemed a fit. The Bubba Frankses of the world look to be too long in the tooth for their tastes.
"I don't have Internet or cable so I didn't even know what happened to Reggie (Kelly) until they called me yesterday," said Sherry, the New England son outfitted in a Red Sox hat and Providence T-shirt.
Welcome to the bigs again, kid. Up since 4:15 a.m. to get a 5:30 a.m. flight out of Logan Airport, Sherry had a chance to see Kelly on Thursday recovering from season-ending Achilles surgery Thursday morning at the Cincinnati doctor's office while he was getting his physical.
"What a great guy. He's such a good leader and a guy I looked up to," Sherry said.
Sherry had just come from being outfitted by Bengals equipment manager Jeff Brickner, and on his way back to the conference center here at Georgetown College it dawned on him that the Bengals called him even an hour before their No. 2 tight end, Ben Utecht, went down with a concussion in Wednesday night's practice.
"Someone in my family ended up telling me about that," he said.
If Utecht passes the rest of his tests and comes back, then Sherry probably ends up a victim of numbers. He's here to give the beleaguered corps of tight ends a reprieve. Daniel Coats is down to one crutch, but his sprained ankle figures to keep him out for at least a few more days and the Bengals need a guy just to let them work on their three tight-end packages in Friday's scrimmage and Saturday's Mock Game.
But the 6-4, 250-pound Sherry, who has his master's in finance from Villanova, will gladly take the film. He hasn't started the other part of his life yet. "I still want to play," he said, so even though the Bengals cut him after the last practice of minicamp back on June 20, he kept lifting and running. He moved to Boston last week to have a base of operations, about an hour down the road from his hometown of Rumford, R.I.
He admitted that he was surprised the Bengals cut him. Although he only got to the first preseason game last year before having season-ending shoulder surgery himself, they did use a sixth-round pick on him in 2008.
"I think it's tough to tell," said Sherry of how far he thought he had progressed. "I think it's really tough in those OTAs with no pads on for the blocking aspect of the game. I don't know how much of a true simulation it is without pads on. We'll find out shortly. I'd like to think just the fact I'm more comfortable with the system, hopefully that will help."
Like most college tight ends, Sherry made his name as a receiver and his 37 catches and five touchdowns in '07 for 'Nova earned him the Colonial Athletic Association Student-Athlete of the Year.
But head coach Marvin Lewis repeated Wednesday night the same pitch he had when the Bengals drafted Sherry. Instead of waiting for that special, rare guy that can both catch and block, take a shot on an excellent receiver who can run that has a frame that can grow into 270 pounds or so. That's why they took Chase Coffman in the third round this year.
It turns out that Sherry actually has a few more Bengals camp practices under his belt than the two remaining healthy tight ends, Coffman and fellow rookie Darius Hill.