CINCINNATI — The Bengals will likely be without their top tight end for Week 14.
Hayden Hurst will be doubtful for the team’s contest against the Cleveland Browns, Bengals coach Zac Taylor said Monday. Hurst left Cincinnati’s 27-24 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs with a right calf injury.
Taylor said the team is still gathering more information on the issue.
“But it’s gonna be doubtful this week,” Taylor said.
Hurst’s final play came on an incomplete pass intended for him without about three minutes remaining in the first quarter. Taylor said it’s unclear if that is when Hurst sustained the injury. He was initially ruled questionable to return before eventually being downgraded to out over the course of the contest.
Hurst, a first-round draft pick in 2018, signed a one-year deal with the Bengals to replace the outgoing C.J. Uzomah, who signed a long-term contract with the New York Jets after Cincinnati’s run to the Super Bowl last season. Hurst was third on the team in total receptions and had two catches for 12 yards before he got hurt against Kansas City.
If Hurst misses Cincinnati’s upcoming game against Cleveland (5-7), the Bengals (8-4) will be without their two primary tight ends. Backup Drew Sample, a 2019 second-round draft pick, was placed on injured reserve on Oct. 3 with a knee injury.
Mitchell Wilcox, a third-year player out of South Florida, is tentatively slotted to move into the starting role, with Devin Asiasi as the primary reserve tight end. Asiasi was acquired after the New England Patriots waived him as part of the team’s final roster cutdown at the end of training camp.
Taylor praised James Casey, the team’s tight ends coach, for the production from the reserves throughout the season. “We expect there to be limited dropoff from the next guy,” Taylor said.
In additional news, the Bengals waived longtime punter Kevin Huber. Huber grew up locally, played for the University of Cincinnati and was drafted by the Bengals in 2009. He holds the record for most games played in franchise history (216).
“We appreciated every moment he was here,” team president Mike Brown said in a rare public statement. “He has been a steadying force for us, an excellent player and a good person. Any football team would be blessed to have him for the length of time we did.”
In Week 11, Drue Chrisman replaced Huber as the starter. Bengals special teams coordinator Darrin Simmons said the team opted to waive Huber early in the week to see if he could potentially find a spot on another team’s 53-man roster. Simmons said the team is open to having Huber replace Chrisman’s spot on the practice squad.
“I feel pretty confident in saying he feels pretty comfortable here and would probably still like to be a part of this,” Simmons said.
Bengals’ Zac Taylor – TE Hayden Hurst doubtful for Week 14