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Bengals release leading punt returner Brandon Tate in cut to 75 players

The Bengals are moving on from all-time leading punt returner Brandon Tate in favor of rookie Alex Erickson. AP Photo/Michael Conroy

The Cincinnati Bengals cut 13 total players on Monday and Tuesday and sent one player to injured reserve and another to the physically unable to perform list.

The decision to release wide receiver Brandon Tate, the team's all-time leading punt returner, couldn't have been easy. But with Tate's punt return average dwindling to 6.3 yards per return and rookie Alex Erickson on his tail in the preseason, there really was no choice. The team will move forward with Erickson, who had an 80-yard punt return for a touchdown in the preseason and could potentially crack the receiver rotation too, something Tate was unable to do last year (only two catches for 59 yards). Erickson is still a raw product, but his flashes of ability were enough to put him over the top.

The Bengals have now trimmed their roster to the NFL-mandated 75 players ahead of the 4 p.m. deadline.

Here’s a look at the moves:

Released: WR Brandon Tate

Waived: LB Jayson DiManche, K Zach Hocker, WR Michael Bennett, FB Jeff Luc, TE John Peters, S Floyd Raven, CB Darien Harris, QB Joe Licata, CB Corey Tindal, DE Jack Gangwish, WR Antwane Grant

Waived/Injured: WR Mario Alford

Injured Reserve: DT Andrew Billings

Physically Unable to Perform: DT Brandon Thompson

Waiting game with injured players: Billings' meniscus injury was obviously enough to keep him out for the season, while William Jackson III (pectoral) or Cedric Peerman (fractured forearm) could potentially come back. To designate a player for IR with the possibility to return, a player must first be on the 53-man roster. Keeping them around indicates the team has hope they could play at some point this season. The team is allowed only one player to return, but they don't have to pick which player at this point.