McCarron on injury list beyond six weeks?

August, 31, 2014
8/31/14
5:20
PM ET
CINCINNATI -- Always remember, cut-deadline roster moves are fluid.

Nothing, as it pertains to a team reaching its initial 53-man roster, is set in stone.

You saw that Sunday when the Cincinnati Bengals welcomed back eight members of their preseason roster and placed them onto the team's practice squad. Other teams made similar moves.

Later this season, you could see the Bengals continue to prove the fluidity of their overall roster when they make a decision on whether to move rookie quarterback AJ McCarron to the injured reserve, place him on the physically unable to perform list or move him onto the active roster as a third quarterback.

While any of those scenarios have been expected to take place, McCarron intimated those were options concerning him in an interview earlier this weekend with TideSports.com, a recruiting-based site that covers University of Alabama football. The former Alabama quarterback, who was a fifth-round Bengals selection in May's draft, told the website he could see the Bengals playing a "numbers game" beyond Week 6.

Since Saturday, McCarron has been on the Bengals' non-football injury list with a shoulder injury. It means he's unable to practice until Week 7 at the earliest.

"Then [the Bengals] can file for an extension all the way until Week 15," McCarron said Saturday in Atlanta after the Crimson Tide's win there Saturday over West Virginia. McCarron and Bengals cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick were among several former Alabama players on the sideline for the game at the Georgia Dome.

"So they're going to just play the numbers game that way," McCarron added.

It remains to be seen what the Bengals' game plan with McCarron will be, but it certainly isn't surprising to hear McCarron acknowledge the potential "numbers game" moves. Per league rules, teams can evaluate players on their non-football injury or PUP lists at Week 6 and determine what they want to do with them for up to five more weeks. If McCarron gets granted the extension he was referring to, one that would effectively make him a PUP list player, he would have to start practicing in Week 12 in order to have the possibility of playing in Week 15; the latest a player on the one of the injury lists could be cleared to return.

If he isn't placed on the 53-man roster by Week 15, McCarron would have to go on the team's injured reserve list.

Quite simply, each of these potential moves gives the Bengals flexibility in the middle of the season if things don't pan out with a still-to-be-signed practice-squad quarterback, or if something happens to any of the other two quarterbacks (Andy Dalton and Jason Campbell) currently on the roster.

As for his throwing shoulder, one that bothered him coming into training camp and forced him to be placed on the preseason non-football injury list, McCarron told TideSports.com it felt "great."

During a conference call with Bengals media Saturday, coach Marvin Lewis said McCarron was "doing well" when asked about the quarterback's shoulder.

Coley Harvey

ESPN Cincinnati Bengals reporter

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