CINCINNATI -- The Bengals made a series of much-anticipated moves Wednesday morning as they set their roster for Sunday's opener at Chicago, including placing receiver Andrew Hawkins on injured reserve with a designation for a possible return later this season.
Hawkins will be eligible to return to practice as early as Week 7 and eligible to play as early as Week 9, depending upon his condition and the Bengals' roster plans. Out since Aug. 1, Hawkins has been sidelined with an ankle injury that caused him to miss the preseason.
He was second among Bengals receivers last season in receptions (51) and receiving yards (533). He also scored four touchdowns.
In a corresponding move, Cincinnati signed free-agent offensive tackle Dennis Roland to take Hawkins' spot on the 53-man roster. As he enters his sixth year in the NFL, Roland makes a return to the Bengals. He appeared in every Bengals game from 2009 through last season. Roland was on the roster during the preseason but was released over the weekend as part of the final roster cut-down.
Roland is expected to give Cincinnati depth at offensive tackle while veteran left tackle Andrew Whitworth makes his way back from offseason knee surgery and right tackle Andre Smith bounces back from his own knee injury.
The Bengals also announced that they signed quarterback Greg McElroy to the practice squad. The third-year player spent the past two seasons with the New York Jets before being waived Monday with an injury settlement. He was 11-of-19 passing for 145 yards and one touchdown in the preseason. In order to be claimed by Cincinnati, he had to clear waivers.
Coley Harvey covers the Bengals for ESPN.com.