CLEVELAND -- It appears Cincinnati Bengals tight end Jermaine Gresham's injured toe responded poorly to a series of tests he put it through hours before Sunday's game with the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium.
Gresham was declared inactive, along with six other Bengals.
The fifth-year player was on the field about two and a half hours prior to the start of the game running routes and trying to cut while catching passes from backup quarterback AJ McCarron. He didn't look comfortable, particularly when trying to catch. As he would plant to go up for catches, he awkwardly reached for the balls. He had a couple of one-handed grabs that likely would have been much easier two-handed snags if he were healthier.
Gresham, whose rookie contract expires in the offseason, will miss a game for the first time this season. His departure also puts the Bengals in a bit of a bind, considering tight ends Tyler Eifert and Alex Smith are still on injured reserve. Smith is on season-ending IR, and Eifert was placed on IR in Week 2 with a designation to return after dislocating his right elbow in the season opener. He was eligible to play five weeks ago, but he has not yet returned to practice.
Without Eifert, Gresham or Smith, the Bengals will turn to third-string backup Kevin Brock, who will be starting for just the second time this season.
Expect the Bengals to also go heavy on their offensive line with a series of unbalanced sets. Reserve offensive tackles Eric Winston and Marshall Newhouse likely will come off the bench as extra blockers to line up next to recently named starting right tackle Clint Boling. Previously the Bengals' starting left guard, Boling moved to right tackle two weeks ago as the Bengals attempted to replace Andre Smith. The starting right tackle was placed on season-ending IR after tearing his triceps the week before.
Along with Gresham, veteran cornerback Terence Newman also was declared inactive Sunday. The 36-year-old has an ankle injury that limited him in practices throughout the week. He'll be replaced by Adam Jones, another veteran who was in and out of practice this week with a chest issue. For those reasons, don't be surprised to see third-year corner Dre Kirkpatrick and rookie Darqueze Dennard get extended playing time as reserves.
Here's the complete list of inactives for both teams Sunday:
QB AJ McCarron
CB Terence Newman
TE Jermaine Gresham
WR James Wright
DE Margus Hunt