Updated: 7:30 p.m.
The Bengals made it clear Tuesday just how much they regard fifth-round pick Kevin Huber when they released their two veterans and left him as the only punter on the roster.
Gone is Kyle Larson after five seasons and 379 punts, the third most in team history behind Lee Johnson (746) and Pat McInally (700). His 41.9-yard average is tied for third in club history, but his numbers dropped considerably the past two seasons. In 2008, when he set the team record with 100 punts, Larson finished last in the AFC with a 39.5 average and a 34.1 net. Larson finished his career with 109 inside-20 kicks and 32 touchbacks.
And while Darrin Simmons may have coveted Huber, it was a difficult day for the Bengals specials teams coach who has had just three punters in his six previous seasons and Larson for the last five.
"Kyle is a guy I have a lot of respect for," said Simmons (Kansas), like Larson (Nebraska), a small town kid who punted at his state university. "And he's got a lot of respect in that locker room. He's a hard worker and has a great attitude. I don't know the numbers, but it's very rare in this league where you have the same punter, same long snapper, and same special teams coach for five years."
After Simmons used Nick Harris and Kyle Richardson in his first season, the Bengals signed Larson as a free agent following the 2004 draft. Like Huber, Larson impressed Simmons when he coached him at the Senior Bowl. When Simmons talked this past weekend about Huber's professionalism in Mobile when he ignored the rain and a new strategy, he could have been talking about Larson.
The Bengals also waived Ryan Plackemeier, a fourth-year punter that played last season for Seattle and Washington and had been acquired by Cincinnati on waivers from Washington this past Feb. 13.
Simmons said the Bengals have yet to decide if they'll sign another punter to compete against Huber.
SCHEDULE CHANGE: The NFL announced Tuesday that the kickoff time for the Bengals Sept. 27 home game vs. Pittsburgh has been changed to 4:15 p.m. The Steelers-Bengals game now will be featured as part of a CBS doubleheader.