It’s Official: At Least One Bengals Starter Has Completed His Recovery and Will Start Sunday

Cincinnati Bengals CB Chido Awuzie's return will provide some much needed experience in a young secondary.

Cincinnati Bengals head coach Zac Taylor was non-committal about quarterback Joe Burrow’s status for Sunday and defensive end Joseph Ossai’s timeline with an ankle injury, but there was a definitive answer when it came to cornerback Chidobe Awuzie.

“Yes,” Taylor said when asked if Awuzie will play.

Bengals CB Chidobe Awuzie To Start Week 1

Awuzie will begin his seventh season in the league on the same field where he tore his ACL on Oct. 31, 2022: Cleveland’s FirstEnergy Stadium. The irony is not lost on him.

“When the schedule came out, that was the first thing I thought about,” Awuzie said last month after taking part in his first team drills during training camp. “I remember me and [defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo] actually talking about it a little bit. So yeah, that would be a very symbolic game.”

Awuzie was playing the best football of his career when he got hurt in the 32-13 loss to the Browns on Halloween night. Ironically, the Bengals went on a 10-game winning streak without him as rookie Cam Taylor-Britt stepped into a bigger role and improved as the season advanced.

Taylor said during Monday’s news conference why Awuzie is so important to what the Bengals do defensively:

“He’s arguably one of the smartest corners in the league. I haven’t coached every corner, but he’s just got those instincts, that awareness. Physically, he’s as talented as anyone. So there’s a lot that he brings to the table that people see and people don’t see.”

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“It’s good to get him back,” Taylor continued. “Just him back in the huddle, him back out there taking reps — he really makes those receivers work for everything that they get. I know that they would tell you that. He’s a great weapon to have back there.”

Awuzie’s experience is especially valuable for a Bengals team that will have two first-time starters in the secondary in safety Dax Hill and Taylor-Britt, plus safety Nick Scott heading into his second season as a starter and first with the Bengals.

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