- Coley Harvey, ESPN Staff Writer
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CINCINNATI -- "Revenge" might actually be too strong a word for what Dontay Moch has in mind this weekend when he heads back to his native Phoenix.
Just know his goal Sunday night at University of Phoenix Stadium is to let his hometown team know what it missed out on when it waived him in March.
"It's double-dipping," Moch said Thursday about going home and playing the Arizona Cardinals. "Hopefully I can go out there and just ... and show them what I didn't really get to do out there, and show Cincinnati what I can do."
Moch was cut previously by the Cincinnati Bengals, who drafted him in the third round in 2011. Now he's back and will play mere miles from where he grew up against the team that most recently let him go, all while fighting for a roster spot. It's almost like something out of Hollywood. Makes you curious to see if he is able to exact his revenge.
If he has a strong game Sunday, what an intriguing storyline he'll have entering the final week of the preseason.
Moch was an outside linebacker in the Cardinals' 3-4 defensive scheme at times last season before they let him go near the start of free agency. When the Bengals acquired him not long after, they moved him back to defensive end, where he is more comfortable. At end for the first time since college, the pass-rusher is one of the many players on the Bengals' roster bubble.
Though Sunday night's game will be more about getting starters extended playing time, Moch should be on the field somewhat often as an alternate on defense in the second half, and on special teams all night. He should have his share of opportunities to exact his revenge, retribution, or whatever it is that he wants to call what he's trying to do.
"It's a little extra," Moch said. "There's more energy I'll be putting in it."
That kind of sounds like revenge.
But is that a bad thing? No. If he plays well, he'll live to see another week on the Bengals' roster after Tuesday's cuts to 75, and he might create a little momentum for himself as he gets set for the Bengals' final preseason game against the Colts next Thursday.
Besides, Moch isn't the only one who will have a little extra for the Cardinals. Linebackers Vontaze Burfict (Arizona) and Marquis Flowers (Arizona State) played college ball in the state, and Flowers hails from the Phoenix area. Backup quarterback Matt Scott also played at Arizona.
Then there is the Carson Palmer angle. Sixteen current Bengals played with Palmer when he was Cincinnati's quarterback before Andy Dalton was drafted in 2011. They will want to one-up their former teammate in only the second game he has played against the Bengals since his drama-filled departure.
As for Moch, the need to play well Sunday is serious. The defensive end position is deep, even if he brings the added dimension of being a stand-up type of rusher who also can drop into space in certain passing situations.
"It's a business, so I don't really try to put that at work," Moch said of the numbers game at his position. "All I can control is what I put out there and what my output is, not who they're bringing in or who they're playing. I just have to show them I can contribute and hopefully show that amongst the others."