Bengals 1st round pick Dre Kirkpatrick has told teammates he suffered an injury in knee area that could cause him to miss much of camp...— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) July 25, 2012
That's not the end of the bad news for the Bengals and Kirkpatrick. CBS Sports colleague Will Brinson added, "The injury could involve a broken bone in his leg, according to the source, with the rookie possibly missing most or all of camp."
UPDATE: Wednesday, July 25 at 2:35 p.m. ET by Mike Chiari
There was initially plenty of concern when Kirkpatrick first suffered the injury, and it appears as though there was good reason for it. According to Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com, Kirkpatrick has a fractured bone in his knee and is expected to miss six weeks.
That means that Kirkpatrick will miss all of training camp and the preseason, as well as the beginning of the regular season in all likelihood. That would be damaging for any player, but it is particularly true of a first-round pick who was expected to be a big-time contributor immediately.
The NFL is a passing league now, so things are tougher on cornerbacks than ever. There is a huge learning curve at the position, and Kirkpatrick is unfortunately going to get a very late start to his NFL career.
The Bengals declined to comment, citing a policy that head coach Marvin Lewis has in place (per La Canfora).
This is brutal news for the entire organization, as Kirkpatrick was signed to a four-year, $8.6 million max contract in May.
One of the nation's best cover corners, the Alabama star anchored an elite pass defense for the Crimson Tide and was a finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award, an honor given to the best defensive back in the country.
Fortunately for the Bengals, their pass defense will likely be able to get by if Kirkpatrick is forced to miss an extended amount of time. Lewis' defense ranked ninth in passing yards allowed, though a surplus of lockdown defensive backs never hurt anybody.
Instead, Kirkpatrick will have an uphill battle on his hands for a starting spot in Cincinnati after his illustrious career under Nick Saban. Kirkpatrick was already going to have some trouble getting acclimated to the NFL, as he was never asked to backpedal in college because he was always in press coverage, as the Bengals' official website illuminates.
The change in defensive schemes wouldn't have been a cakewalk for Kirkpatrick with the benefit of an entire training camp on the field, but it goes without saying, his job just got a whole lot harder.