CINCINNATI (AP) — Wide receiver Antonio Bryant was released on Sunday by the Cincinnati Bengals, who signed him to a four-year, $28 million deal last March thinking he would be their long-term complement to Chad Ochocinco.
It’s the second time in two years that the Bengals went after a high-profile free agent receiver, then changed their minds soon after signing him. They got Laveranues Coles to replace T.J. Houshmandzadeh last year, then released him after only one season.
Bryant and Terrell Owens worked out for the Bengals in March. Cincinnati chose Bryant, who was coming off an injury-marred season. He had surgery to repair cartilage damage in his left knee last year, and caught only 39 passes for Tampa Bay.
The Bengals gave him the big contract, including roughly $7 million in first-year bonuses, convinced that the knee was fine. It began bothering him over the summer, and he wasn’t able to practice with the team during training camp. The Bengals signed Owens to a one-year deal at the start of camp, giving them another option.
Owens quickly developed into the Bengals’ top receiver in preseason. Bryant missed all four preseason games because of the knee problem. Bryant said the muscles around the knee weren’t strong enough to let him cut at full speed.
The move came shortly after Coles was released by the Jets, who signed him after Cincinnati let him go.
Also on Sunday, the Bengals put safety Gibril Wilson on injured reserve with damaged ligaments in his left knee and waived rookie long snapper Mike Windt.