Or at least, he could be. Earlier this evening, former Cincinnati Bengals LB Roddrick Muckleroy posted an Instagram photo of three spiral notebooks: two of them green Mead books that anyone can pick up at three in the morning at a Walgreens; the other, a brown book with a gold, embedded NFL logo with “Muck” scribbled just below it.
Muckleroy went on to post that the three books are “as good as gold to me” and, shortly after, another post by 600_binns (presumably Bengals WR Armon Binns) reassured Muckleroy, “Don’t worry me and [Dan] Skuta keep yo seat open”.
By all intents and purposes, it looks like Muckleroy – Cincinnati’s second-leading tackler during the preseason who only trailed SS Jeromy Miles, and who later relieved starting safety Taylor Mays of his boneheaded, headhunting duties in the Monday night opener against the Baltimore Ravens – is back. It is unclear whether or not this presumed personnel move is a response to starting middle linebacker, Rey Maualuga’s underwhelming performance against the Ravens or a precautionary measure due to LB Thomas Howard’s sudden knee injury.
Regardless, diehard Who Dey fanatics will be excited to see Muckleroy back in orange and black stripes. He and now-No.2 MLB Vontaze Burfict were two of the biggest standouts of the Bengals’ preseason. Unfortunately, the coaching staff didn’t prioritize depth at the linebacker position like they did in the secondary or at receiver, so the Bengals decided they couldn’t keep both, and Muckleroy became the most surprising casualty of the final round of cuts.
If Muckleroy does, in fact, come back, it could indicate that the Bengals defensive coaches are willing to do some personnel shuffling, especially after how porous the defense looked as the Ravens broke past the defensive line. Not only does this open doors for Burfict and Muckleroy; it could mean that current backups, Vincent Rey and Skuta might earn more playing time and potentially make their cases for starting jobs as the season goes on.
I have an extensive track record of disliking Texas Longhorn alums in the NFL, but there’s something about Muckleroy. He’s young and has a keen nose for the football, and it looks like Marvin Lewis and the Bengals’ coaching staff are ready to unleash the young Muck.