Sidelines with John Clay

Bad-luck Cincinnati Bengals hit with some tough summer news

If it wasn’t for bad luck, the poor Bungles would have no luck at all.

That’s the Cincinnati Bengals, actually, who ruined a perfectly good Tuesday for their fans by announcing that first-round draft pick Jonah Williams, the hulking offensive tackle, will likely miss his rookie season after undergoing surgery to repair a torn labrum.

The All-American out of Alabama was taken with the No. 11 overall pick by the Bengals, whose 6-10 finish in 2018 ended Marvin Lewis’ 16-year tenure as head coach and prompted the club to hire Rams quarterbacks coach Zac Taylor as head coach.

The 36-year-old Taylor inherits an offensive line that had all kinds of trouble protecting quarterback Andy Dalton last season. The Bengals allowed 37 sacks last season, 19 more than league-leader Indianapolis and 16 more than Super Bowl champion New England.

Thus Cincinnati spent its top pick on Williams, hoping the 6-foot-4, 302-pounder would take over at left tackle so that Cordy Glenn could move inside to left guard. Instead, Williams was injured in a practice during the team’s OTA and sat out the mandatory minicamp June 11-13.

The Bengals have spent a first-round pick on an offensive lineman each of the last two years, and now both selections have run into injury problems. Last year’s first-round pick, center Billy Price of Ohio State, suffered a foot injury in the second game of his rookie season that caused him to miss the next six contests.

The Bengals said they expect Williams to make fully recovery and be ready for the 2020 campaign.

“We look forward to Jonah being a major contributor in the future, and know that he won’t let this injury deter him from still being an important part of this team,” said head coach Zac Taylor in a statement released by the team. “We’re confident in our offensive line personnel as we head into training camp, and we believe they can do their part in helping this team achieve its goals.”

The Bengals begin training camp on July 27. The team’s first exhibition game is August 10 at Kansas City. Cincinnati opens the NFL regular season on Sept. 8 at Seattle. Its home opener is Sept. 15 against San Francisco.

Bengals’ 2019 schedule


  • Aug. 10 At Kansas City
  • Aug. 15 At Washington
  • Aug. 22 N.Y. Giants
  • Aug. 29 Indianapolis

Regular season

  • Sept. 8 At Seattle
  • Sept. 15 San Francisco
  • Sept. 22 At Buffalo
  • Sept. 30 At Pittsburgh
  • Oct. 6 Arizona
  • Oct. 13 At Baltimore
  • Oct. 20 Jacksonville
  • Oct. 27 vs L.A. Rams (London)
  • Nov. 3 bye
  • Nov. 10 Baltimore
  • Nov. 17 At Oakland
  • Nov. 24 Pittsburgh
  • Dec. 1 N.Y. Jets
  • Dec. 8 At Cleveland
  • Dec. 15 New England
  • Dec. 22 At Miami
  • Dec. 29 Cleveland

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