D.J. Reader is back. The Bengals have activated the defensive tackle from injured reserve, according to Paul Dehner Jr. of The Athletic (on Twitter). Cincinnati also promoted wideout Trenton Irwin and punter Drue Chrisman from the practice squad.
Reader inked a four-year, $53MM deal to join the Bengals in 2020. He was limited to only five games during his first season in Cincy thanks to a quad injury, but he returned to start all 15 of his appearances in 2021. The defensive tackle finished the campaign with 43 tackles and a pair of sacks, and he added another 12 tackles and a sack in four playoff starts. Thanks to his regular season performance, Pro Football Focus ranked him ninth among 108 qualifying interior defenders.
The 28-year-old started each of the Bengals’ first three games this year, compiling 10 tackles. He suffered an MCL injury in September that shelved him for a few months, but he returned to practice earlier this week and is now in line to take the field tomorrow in Pittsburgh.
Chrismas is getting a chance to be Cincinnati’s punter despite Kevin Huber‘s presence on the roster. According to Dehner (on Twitter), Chrismas will have a chance to earn the full-time gig, and Huber has “been in the loop”on the team’s plan. Huber’s 2022 salary is guaranteed regardless of how things unfold. Huber has struggled this season, with his 43.2 yards per punt misrepresenting his lowest average since 2010. Chrismas, a 2021 UDFA out of Ohio State, has spent the majority of his career on the Bengals practice squad.
Irwin has earned promotions in each of the Bengals’ last two games following Ja’Marr Chase‘s injury. The 26-year-old wideout has gotten into 11 games in four seasons with the Bengals, collecting six receptions (including three this season).