No Eifert, Boling for Bengals finale, Green’s status unclear
CINCINNATI (AP) — Tight end Tyler Eifert and left guard Clint Boling will miss the Bengals’ final game with injuries.
Receiver A.J. Green probably won’t play, either, although he hasn’t been ruled out officially.
And several others, including 11-year veteran Andrew Whitworth, are wondering if it’ll be their final game with the Bengals when they host the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday with little at stake.
“All season long I’ve put this game out of my mind just because of that,” Whitworth said on Tuesday. “It’d be tough for it to be the last time you run out there — here.
“I think it’s definitely in the back of your mind. You try to keep it there until the game is over, and you play the way you want to play.”
The Bengals’ playoffs chances ended with a 24-20 loss to the Steelers on Dec. 18 at Paul Brown Stadium. A 12-10 loss in Houston on Saturday night left them 5-9-1 , their worst record since a 4-12 finish in 2010.
The Ravens (8-7) also were eliminated by the Steelers, who clinched the AFC North title with a 31-27 victory on Sunday.
The Bengals are missing the playoffs for the first time in six years, while the Ravens are eliminated for the third time in four years.
Cincinnati placed Eifert and Boling on injured reserve on Monday, ending their seasons. Eifert missed the first six games of the season while recovering from offseason ankle surgery and a back injury, and he reinjured his back last week. Boling hurt his left shoulder on Sept. 29, but continued playing though the injury.
It’s doubtful that Green will play, either, after the Bengals made a late decision to hold him out against the Texans.
Green severely strained his right hamstring on Nov. 20 and hadn’t played, but had a good week of practice and accompanied the team to Houston expecting to be active for the game. He was listed as questionable.
After a meeting between the coaching staff, the medical staff and the front office in Houston, the club decided to hold him out.
Coach Marvin Lewis said after the game that another scan of Green’s hamstring during the week found that it wasn’t completely healed.
When Green was told he wouldn’t play in the game on Christmas Eve, he requested and received permission to fly home to be with his family.
Whitworth is one of 15 Bengals who could become free agents in the offseason. Lewis has a year left on his contract and has indicated he plans to return.
After keeping the core of its team intact the past few years, Cincinnati could be looking at more sweeping changes in the offseason, particularly on a defense that’s among the oldest in the league. For some of them, it’ll be their final game in a striped helmet.
“I don’t want to think like that,” said cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick, a potential free agent.
NOTES: Boling was inactive for the game at Houston. The Bengals compensated by moving Cedric Ogbuehi to left tackle and moving Whitworth into Boling’s spot. Jake Fisher started at right tackle. Ogbuehi and Fisher gave up sacks. Whitworth said on Tuesday that he hadn’t yet heard about the line’s configuration for the final game. “Hopefully I’ll be back at tackle,” Whitworth said. ... WR Jake Kumerow and LB Trevor Roach were signed to the roster. Kumerow spent last season on the practice squad. Roach played in the first three games this season and was moved to the practice squad.
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