Since being drafted in the third round in 2010, Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Brandon Ghee has had his career derailed by injuries. So it was ironic that injuries were what led Ghee to play a career-high 22 snaps Sunday in the Bengals’ 17-6 loss at Cleveland.
A wrist injury in training camp cost Ghee his 2012 season, and he suffered concussions in back-to-back preseason games against Atlanta and Tennessee this year. But the Wake Forest product was cleared to return to practice last week, and with cornerbacks Leon Hall and Dre Kirkpatrick inactive with hamstring injuries, Ghee stepped into the role as slot corner Sunday.
He finished with three tackles while limiting Browns receiver Davone Bess to two catches for 25 yards, although one was a big 17-yarder on third and 6 that took Cleveland to the Cincinnati 1 and set up a Brian Hoyer to Jordan Cameron touchdown pass for the first score of the game.
Ghee talked about his season debut for this week’s High Five:
How did it feel to finally get out there and see some live action?
It definitely felt good to play. I felt like I could have played better. It was just average. Not bad, not good. To me, that’s bad. I need to play a lot better.
Did you stay in the slot the whole time or did they move your around?
I stayed in the slot the whole time, and I let one ball get inside of me. It was one bad snap. I shouldn’t have let him inside. Bess is a decent player, but any time you’re in the slot you have to get your hands on them. It was a two-man defense, and you can’t let the guy inside. I made a mistake and it won’t happen again. I’ve just got to move on and get better.
Did you feel rusty given that it was your first live action in the regular season since 2011?
Yeah, a lot of rust. But that’s no excuse. When you’re on the field, nobody cares if you’re rusty or if you only practiced one day. Nobody cares. I’m not in football shape yet. I don’t care if you sit out for just two weeks, you’re not going to be in football shape. I’m extremely sore.
Other than the two long touchdown drives, how did the defense play as a whole against the Browns?
We’re perfectionists, so we want everything to be perfect. We don’t want any balls caught on us at all. Overall they didn’t score a lot of points, and we made a lot of mistakes. But we didn’t win, and that’s all that matters. The only positive note was I didn’t get hurt in the game. I didn’t get rung. I had a few good tackles and no headaches, so that’s a good thing.
How do you feel about the challenge of facing a future Hall of Famer in Tom Brady this week?
It’s exciting. The better the competition, the more fun it is. Brady is a great quarterback. I think it’s going to be a good game.
Who: New England Patriots (4-0) at Cincinnati Bengals (2-2)
When: 1 p.m. Sunday
Where: Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati
TV: Ch. 7, 12
Radio: 700-AM, 1530-AM, 102.7-FM, 104.7-FM