Carl Lawson is less than nine months removed from suffering a torn ACL, but the Bengals defensive end is still confident that he’ll be ready for the start of the season. The 24-year-0ld told NFL Network’s Good Morning Football that he’s looking to return in time for Week 1.
“The goal is to be out there Week 1, and I’m feeling great,” Lawson said (via NFL.com’s Kevin Patra). “Thankfully I can take care of my body, I’ve got a lot of different resources, I can fly to places, I can do everything underneath the sun because I have the money to do it. So, it’s been a great rehab process.”
Lawson was selected in the fourth round of the 2017 draft and immediately contributed on the Bengals’ defensive line. While Cincy limited his playing time during his rookie campaign (Lawson played 41% of the team’s defensive snaps in 2017), he still managed to post 8.5 sacks and 21 quarterback hits, the latter of which tied him for 19th league-wide. This past season, Lawson had posted only one sack, but still was ranked as a top-15 edge rusher, per Pro Football Focus.
The Bengals will look a whole lot different in 2019, with head coach Zac Taylor leading the new additions. The team will also welcome back a number of injured players, including Andy Dalton, A.J. Green, Preston Brown and (potentially) Tyler Eifert. If the Bengals can remain healthy next season, Lawson is confident that the team can compete.
“You can expect a lot, but at the same time, in this league, that’s what separates different teams, being able to be healthy throughout the season,” he said. “I think the main thing is being able to have that depth, and that carry over, so when things do happen. You know, because everybody’s like ‘Oh, well if we were healthy, if this or that, whatever’ — not that many injuries as we had last year — but I think you can expect a lot from us.”
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.