Thomas Howard placed on injured reserve by Cincinnati Bengals

CINCINNATI -- The Cincinnati Bengals suffered a major blow to their defense on Friday when Thomas Howard was placed on injured reserve after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament during practice on Thursday.

"It was an unfortunate thing, anytime a player like Thomas, a young talent, gets hurt," coach Marvin Lewis said. "You have to move on. It's a freak thing that happens."

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Howard, a seven-year veteran from UTEP, was Cincinnati's tackling leader last season with 120 stops, and started in the Bengals' Week 1 loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Monday night. He had four tackles, including a sack, and a pass defensed in the 44-13 defeat.

To take Howard's place on the roster, Cincinnati signed linebacker Roddrick Muckelroy. A third-year player from Texas, Muckelroy started three preseason games for the Bengals this summer, posting 17 tackles, including a sack. He was a fourth-round draft choice in 2010 by Cincinnati.

"We were lucky to get Muckelroy back here this morning," Lewis said, "and get going from there."

Muckelroy, who was one of the final cuts by the Bengals two weeks ago, was still in the area. He was scheduled to move back to Houston today before he received a call from the team last night.

Howard was signed by the Bengals last year following the lockout and took over at weakside linebacker when Keith Rivers had an offseason injury. Howard started 15 games and had four passes defensed and two forced fumbles. He led team in tackles in four of final six games last regular season, as well as the playoff loss to Houston.

Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press

Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press

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