We recently learned that the Pittsburgh Steelers are not the only team in the AFC North to be experiencing cornerback woes, as Cinncinnati Bengals rookie first-round pick William Jackson III may be sidelined for the entirety of his rookie season with a torn pectoral muscle. Meanwhile, Darqueze Dennard, another former first-round draft pick cornerback, is dealing with a sprained ankle.
All of this reportedly as the Bengals considering a reunion with yet another of their former first-round cornerbacks, this one being Leon Hall, who has remained a free agent throughout this offseason, in part because he is 32, and also because he had to undergo back surgery.
Yesterday, Jay Morrison Tweeted that Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis told reporters after practice that the team had had “conversations with Leon Hall” and that “there is interest from both sides”. The potential union would certainly make a good deal of sense, provided that he is healthy.
A former 18th-overall selection in the 2007 NFL Draft, Hall has played the entirety of his career with the Bengals, from 2007 through the 2015 season, though he has had an injury history. He suffered an Achilles injury in 2011 that limited him to nine games, and suffered another torn Achilles two years later that limited him to just five games.
Prior to last season, Hall has always been a starter while healthy, minus six games in his rookie season. From 2008 to 2014, he played in and started 91 games. He has started a total of 105 games in his career, and played in a total of 121.
In 2015, he played in 14 games, but started only four, for the first time since his rookie season not featured as a full-time starter. Still, he recorded 55 tackles and intercepted two passes, one of which he returned for a touchdown, and deflected nine passes.
In his career, Hall has registered 470 tackles, 26 interceptions, with three returned for touchdowns, 111 passes defensed, and five forced fumbles. While he has never been named outright to the Pro Bowl, he received second-team All-Pro recognition in 2009, when he intercepted six passes and forced two fumbles.
With training camp now underway and the cornerback position around certain parts of the league taking some hits, Hall’s name appears to be surfacing more and more, no doubt a circumstances he had anticipated, and he may find his best chance to sign with a team coming now.
It could be with the Bengals. Or it could be with the Steelers, should they consider an outside answer to the Senquez Golson question, who reports indicated has suffered a Lisfranc injury that may threaten to end his second season before he has ever had a first.
While he has been slowed by age and injuries, Hall showed last season to remain a worthy defensive contributor when he was healthy. He is now about a half a year or so removed from surgery on a back injury that required epidural shots to bear through late in the year. Is he healthy enough to be an option for either, or any, team?