J.K. Schaffer said this was going to be a stressful week and he knew exactly what he was talking about.
Despite leading a team in tackles for the second straight preseason, Schaffer again found himself on the waiver wire on cutdown day Saturday when published reports had him being released along with fullback John Conner and rookie wide receiver Cobi Hamilton.
Pro Football Talk reports that the Bengals have also released veteran backup right tackle Dennis Roland and running back Daniel Herron, the club's preseason leading rusher. The Herron cut indicates that sixth-rounder Rex Burkhead has made it and joins BenJarvus Green-Ellis, rookie Giovani Bernard and Cedric Peerman in the backfield.
The Bengals are expected to announce their cuts midafternoon Saturday.
Schaffer, the LaSalle High School and University of Cincinnati product, joined the Bengals practice squad last midseason after the Jaguars cut him before the regular season. It's expected the Bengals want to re-sign him to the squad if he clears waivers. Schaffer, of course, would like to get claimed even though he loves being on the hometown team.
"If I got claimed, I'd be ecstatic because that means I'd be on a roster," said Schaffer, who escaped to the golf course with friends. "I'd love to be here. I want to be here. I'm disappointed, but I know that the people who make these decisions have been making them longer than I've been playing and that you have to respect that."
After Thursday night's preseason finale, when Schaffer had a sack and an interception in the 27-10 victory over the Colts, he said he had "left it all out there." And it looked like he got his chance when linebacker Emmanuel Lamur went out with what appears to be a season-ending dislocated shoulder.
Now the Schaffer release indicates the Bengals could be keeping just five backers, one fewer than usual, and they may be keeping a slot open for their own waiver claim.
They'll probably also try to re-sign Hamilton to the practice squad if he doesn't get claimed. That move indicates that both veterans, Ryan Whalen and Dane Sanzenbacher, made a field of seven wide receivers that figures to be whittled to six Tuesday when Andrew Hawkins (ankle) is thought to go on injured reserve-recall.
The reports of Conner's release indicate the Bengals have opted to keep H-back Orson Charles, a fourth-round pick from 2012 as a tight end. While Conner is an impressive blocker, he can only play fullback. The Bengals see Charles, still learning the fullback position, as a guy that can also play tight end as well as possess more potential on special teams.
Roland has played every game since 2009, largely as "a tackle eligible."
Herron, a 2012 sixth-rounder, is a practice squad candidate.