Newman, however, did offer an explanation after signing a one-year deal with the Cincinnati Bengals. The 33-year-old cornerback told the Bengals’ official website that he played much of the season with a hamstring injury.
“I'm a rockhead about some things and I tried to play through it,” Newman told Bengals.com. “I wanted to be there for my teammates and I ended up probably hurting them.”
The injury wasn’t severe enough to cause Newman to miss any practice time or even appear on the official injury report. However, defensive coordinator Rob Ryan did hint late in the season that something might be physically wrong with Newman.
The problem is that something is often physically wrong with Newman. He struggled, to put it mildly, in the second half of the 2010 season while playing with a painful strain in the muscle near the rib cage. He missed the first two games of the 2011 season with a pulled groin, the second time in four seasons he missed games due to a groin injury suffered in training camp.
Perhaps Newman, who is reunited with former Cowboys defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer in Cincinnati, can stay healthy and perform consistently as a part-time player for the Bengals. The Cowboys were paying him to be a premier cornerback, and injuries are part of the reason that’s no longer a realistic expectation for Newman.