The Cincinnati Bengals waived 2007 second-round pick Kenny Irons on Friday after he failed to pass a team physical. It seemed the club did not expect him to be ready for the start of training camp, and he was a candidate to start the season on the physically unable to perform list. The team decided to give up on the once-promising rusher, allowing the Bengals roster to drop to its training camp maximum of 80 players.
Irons had been unable to play or practice with the team since he suffered a torn ACL in his left knee in the 2007 preseason opener. Last July, Irons signed a four-year contract worth $5 million, with $1.7 million guaranteed.
Even with the loss of Kenny Irons, the Bengals have a stable of capable backs, including starter Rudi Johnson. Johnson missed most of last season with a hamstring injury, but he is fully recovered and has bulked back up to 225 pounds. He seems ready for a big season this year behind a healthy offensive line.
Behind Rudi Johnson is last year's leading rusher, Kenny Watson. Filling out the roster are a finally healthy Chris Perry, who is also an explosive receiver and DeDe Dorsey, who is slowed by a hamstring injury but had a 8.7-yard average in 21 carries last season. A wild card in the fifth spot is rookie free agent James Johnson. Johnson impressed coaches with his 1,164 yards and 12 touchdowns in his last season at Kansas State and success during the spring workouts.
The Bengals are pretty solid at running back even without the 2007 second rounder, but don't be surprised if another team picks him up off waivers now that he's a low-risk, high-reward option.