On their injury report released Friday afternoon, the Bengals officially listed starting cornerback Terence Newman as out for Sunday night's nationally televised tilt in Pittsburgh against the Steelers. Kirkpatrick will take Newman's place in the starting lineup, occupying the boundary cornerback position opposite Adam Jones. It's been an opportunity Kirkpatrick has been anxious to have since he was taken by the Bengals with the 17th overall pick in the 2012 draft.
"Make no mistake, when we bring guys in here and we talk to them about how they could possibly be our first pick in the draft, it's a total package," coach Marvin Lewis said. "It's their abilities, but yet the confidence in their abilities and the ability to work at what it takes, as well. When you get your first year where you're kind of sideways all the time for injuries and things like he had last year, it's taken his time and his opportunity a little longer to get going."
Kirkpatrick's addition should be the only change the Bengals make to their starting lineup. Newman was the only player listed as out on the injury report. According to ESPN's Chris Mortensen, he is expected to miss 1-3 three weeks after suffering an MCL sprain in last week's 42-28 win against Indianapolis.
Along with Newman were seven probables. The list includes linebacker James Harrison, who will be playing his first game in Pittsburgh since departing the Steelers in the offseason. After a potential deal fell through, he signed with Cincinnati in April, marking the first time in his 12-year pro career that Harrison had played for anyone other than Pittsburgh.
At one point this week, it seemed his return might not take place. He and two other players had fallen ill with a bug that spread around the team for a couple days. The illness forced Harrison into missing Thursday's and Friday's practices. Fellow linebacker Vontaze Burfict was out Thursday, and running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis missed Wednesday's and Thursday's sessions.
One of the other probables, offensive guard Kevin Zeitler, likely will be put back into the starting lineup at right guard after coming back from a foot injury that has kept him out the past three games.
Here's the full Bengals' injury report:
CB Terence Newman (knee)
LB Vontaze Burfict (illness/thigh)
RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis (illness)
LB James Harrison (illness)
DE Wallace Gilberry (knee)
S George Iloka (concussion)
WR Marvin Jones (shoulder)
OG Kevin Zeitler (foot)