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Bengals make moves, Dennard affected?

CINCINNATI -- On the surface, it would appear that Monday afternoon's announcement from the Cincinnati Bengals that cornerback Onterio McCalebb had been dropped from the 53-man roster was a sign that rookie corner Darqueze Dennard was getting closer to finally playing.

Dennard was declared inactive before Sunday's game after it was surmised that he wasn't healthy enough to compete for a third consecutive week. He's now going on a month straight in which he hasn't played because of a hip injury that popped up on his first play in Week 2 of the preseason against the Jets.

"This is new. This is my first time experiencing this injury," Dennard said Monday. "It's definitely different. It's something that I never experienced before and it's pretty tough. But I'm recovering well. The training staff is doing a great job and setting me up and doing schedules and getting me ready. We'll see how this week goes."

Before designating Dennard as inactive, the Bengals had waived defensive tackle Christo Bilukidi and moved McCalebb off the practice squad to take Dennard's spot. McCalebb was meant to only be a special teams addition to the roster, called upon to play on the coverage units Dennard couldn't participate on.

On Monday, the same day Bilukidi reportedly signed with the Ravens, McCalebb was waived. With a 10th and final practice-squad spot still available, the young defensive back is likely to be added back onto the team as part of that group later this week. In addition to waiving McCalebb, the Bengals also officially terminated receiver Cobi Hamilton's contract. A team official said the Bengals had been granted an extension on Hamilton's status while they figured out what to do with him.

Hamilton originally was cut Aug. 30 when the Bengals got down to their 53-man roster, but he also never formally was announced as a practice squad addition.

With McCalebb now off the 53-man roster, the Bengals have a spot available. After last week's apparent near-signing of defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson, it now seems Cincinnati will be adding the lineman to the mix. He posted a picture last Tuesday on Instagram to announce that he had signed with the team. The Bengals never made a signing formal, and a signing didn't seem promising last week.

The dominoes have now lined up for that signing to come.

They also have lined up for Dennard to get back on the field.

"I've just got to continue to get better in practice and show throughout this week when we have practices that I'm ready to go," Dennard said.

The Georgia native is hoping to make his debut against the Falcons on Sunday after a rough football weekend. In addition to missing the season opener this past Sunday, Dennard's Michigan State Spartans lost at Oregon on Saturday.

"Tough weekend for us," he said. "We'll rebound. The Spartans are going to rebound, and I'm going to rebound, as well. It's just positive thoughts in the future."