By Conrad Clowers
Herald Sports Writer
In it’s 50 something year history, the Bengals have long valued the tight end spot. You can debate who was the best of the bunch. Bob Trumpy was the first great one. Dan Ross set a record for receptions that stood for years. Rodney Holman was Boomer Esiason’s safety net. Tyler Eifert was a high draft with great potential, but couldn’t stay healthy enough to play a long career. Cincinnati finally has a mainstay they feel could be a difference maker and a potential All Pro. C.J. Uzomah has put NFL defenses on notice that he is a force to be reckoned with.
No tight end shines without a quarterback to get them the ball. Bengal QB Joe Burrow has done his part to put Uzomah on the map. It’s not like Uzomah came into the NFL as a star and didn’t have to pay his dues. Drafted in the 5th round of the 2015 NFL draft from Auburn, Uzamah played behind high round draft Tyler Eifert. It would not be till many years later that the Auburn product would get his turn as the Bengals starter.
Thus far this season Uzomah has shined in the Bengal offense. He currently has 313 yards on 25 receptions along with 5 touchdowns in 9 games.
Cincinnati is currently 5-4 and in the midst of a yoyo season. Uzomah is on pace to shatter his own record for receptions and yards. It was Uzomahs 4th down catch against the Jacksonville Jaguars that sealed the game for the Bengals and put the Bengal tight end in the spotlight as one of the NFL’s consistent go-to tight ends at clutch time.
Uzomah’s story wasn’t always as a tight end. In high school, he starred as a quarterback at North Gwinnett in Swanee, Georgia. The 6-6 prospect knew he may display his talents as a tight end when transitioning to college. After his Auburn career was over, Uzomah still flew under the radar. He didn’t even get an invite as one of the 19 tight ends to perform at the NFL combine. He did however perform at Auburn’s Pro Day and shined enough to be noticed by Marvin Lewis and the Bengal coaching staff.
When you hear about the best tight ends in the NFL you’ll likely hear about Travis Kelsey of the Chiefs, Darrin Waller of the Raiders, Rob Gronkowski of the Buccaneers, or George Kittle of the San Francisco 49ers. Uzomah has yet to establish himself in that category. The Bengals showed so much belief in the Auburn product that he got his second contract in 2019. Uzomah signed a 3 year 18 million dollar contract.
It would be the next year in 2020 that the Bengal tight end would face his first big challenge as he would tear his Achilles. The now healthy Bengal tight end has shown hard work can put you back stronger then ever. The Bengals will need Uzomah at his best the second half of the season, if they are to be in the playoffs for the first time in 6 years.