published Friday, August 24th, 2012

Ex-Moc Lewis-Harris may stick with Bengals

UTC safety Chris Lewis-Harris gets ready to practice at Finley Stadium.
UTC safety Chris Lewis-Harris gets ready to practice at Finley Stadium.
Photo by John Rawlston /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

CINCINNATI — Everywhere Green Bay's receivers went Thursday night at Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati Bengals rookie Chris Lewis-Harris followed. Closely.

Perhaps that's why the former University of Tennessee at Chattanooga defensive back entered this game tied for fourth on the Bengals' exhibition season tackling chart with six, including five solos and a sack.

Perhaps that's why he dropped Packers wideout Diondre Borel on a textbook tackle for no gain early in the third quarter of this eventual 27-13 Green Bay victory before an announced crowd of 52,584.

Perhaps that's also why Lewis-Harris is becoming less than a long shot to make the Bengals, though Cincy finished a respectable ninth among 32 NFL teams in pass defense a year ago.

And last year's second-team All-Southern Conference selection has been doing all of this without ever taking the field in the opening half of Cincy's first three preseason games.

"This was great," Lewis-Harris said after recording three tackles against the Packers. "I accomplished one of my goals just getting here. Whatever happens now happens."

His UTC quarterback, B.J. Coleman, is playing third string behind one of the top two or three QBs in the entire NFL in Aaron Rodgers, who showed he's as dangerous with his legs as his arm against the Bengals, running for two first-quarter touchdowns to give the Pack a 17-6 halftime lead.

While Cincy coach Marvin Lewis returned starting quarterback Andy Dalton to the game in the third quarter, Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy went with backup Graham Harrell, finally sending Coleman into the game with 5:55 left in the fourth. His first pass was an 8-yard completion. His second and final pass was defended by Lewis-Harris and fell incomplete.

Both former Mocs no doubt have circled Monday on their iPhones and calendars. That's when all NFL rosters must be reduced to 75 players. Rosters must be trimmed again to 53 players next Friday. Fifteen hours after that 9 p.m. deadline, teams may establish an eight-player practice squad.

"What a great thing to have two Chattanooga players on the field at the same time in a game like this," Coleman said. "This was awesome."

The Bengals close out their exhibition schedule at Indianapolis next Thursday. The Packers host Kansas City that same night in their final preseason tune-up.

about Mark Wiedmer...

Mark Wiedmer started work at the Chattanooga News-Free Press on Valentine’s Day of 1983. At the time, he had to get an advance from his boss to buy a Valentine gift for his wife. Mark was hired as a graphic artist but quickly moved to sports, where he oversaw prep football for a time, won the “Pick’ em” box in 1985 and took over the UTC basketball beat the following year. By 1990, he was ...

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