Jan 22, 2022; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Cincinnati Bengals tight end C.J. Uzomah (87) celebrates after the Bengals defeated the Tennessee Titans 19-16 during the AFC Divisional playoff football game at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

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Notebook: Bengals’ C.J. Uzomah, Jackson Carman on track for Super Bowl

Cincinnati Bengals coach Zac Taylor told reporters Friday that tight end C.J. Uzomah was on track to play in Super Bowl LVI Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams in Inglewood, Calif.

The Bengals listed Uzomah as questionable for the contest. The team said he was a full practice participant.

Uzomah, in his seventh year with the Bengals, suffered a sprained MCL in his left knee during the AFC Championship Game against the Kansas City Chiefs and did not return to practice until Thursday, when he was a limited participant.

Uzomah had said throughout the week that he would not miss the biggest game of his life. The 29-year-old had 49 catches for 493 yards and five touchdowns in the regular season — all career highs — and added 13 receptions for 135 yards and a score in three playoff games.

Taylor also revealed a bit more about injured rookie Jackson Carman, a second-round pick who made six starts at right guard in the regular season. Carman was limited in Wednesday’s practice due to a back injury but was at full participation the past two days.

The coach told reporters that they had seen enough from Carman to believe he could start at right guard. But when pressed if that was the team’s plan, he replied, “We’ll see.”

Hakeem Adeniji would be in line to start if Carman does not.

–Cincinnati’s Ja’Marr Chase and Los Angeles’ Cooper Kupp each earned some hardware at Thursday night’s NFL Honors awards show. Chase won the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year title, while Kupp was named Offensive Player of the Year.

Chase ranked fourth in the NFL in receiving yards and third in touchdowns receptions, but his terrific season did not stop him from admiring Kupp and his receiving triple crown (leading the NFL in receptions, yards and touchdowns).

“Cooper Kupp’s game is like magic, man,” Chase said. “The way he plays, the way he gets in and out of his cuts, the way he sets defenders up, it’s just crazy. … He’s at a level that I want to make.”

Chase also joked that it will be great to finally watch star wideout Odell Beckham Jr. in person. The three-time Pro Bowler has been considered one of the league’s most talented receivers since he entered the league in 2014 and is now on his third team. Both Chase and Beckham are LSU products.

“I hope (Bengals cornerback) Eli Apple does his thing of course,” Chase added, referring to his teammate assigned to cover Beckham. “But it’s gonna be a lot of fun watching this game.”

–The Bengals’ most famous No. 85 never played in a Super Bowl, but wide receiver Tee Higgins will carry Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson’s jersey number onto the field on Sunday.

Higgins wanted there to be a 5 in his NFL jersey number after wearing the single digit in college. But before the NFL changed its rules governing jersey numbers in 2021, that limited Higgins to 15 or 85. When the Bengals drafted Higgins in 2020, No. 15 was taken.

“I hit up Chad on Twitter,” Higgins explained Friday. “I was like, ‘With all due respect, I would like to ask you if it would be cool if I wear 85.’ He was just like, ‘Yeah, man, go ahead! It would be an honor for you to wear it.’ I picked the number and the rest is history.”

But Higgins may still change his jersey to No. 5 after this year, now that the league is allowing receivers and tight ends to wear any number from 1-49 and 80-89.

–The mayors of Cincinnati and Los Angeles announced their Super Bowl bet Friday morning. In addition to a traditional component, in which the mayor of the losing city will wear the winning team’s jersey during a press conference, the winning city and team also will make a donation to a children’s hospital in the losing city.

In a TV interview, Cincinnati mayor Aftab Pureval was asked if the city’s decision to give its schoolchildren Monday off was contingent on the Bengals winning the game.

“Your question is irrelevant, because we’re going to win,” Pureval said, tongue in cheek. “We will have the school day off. We’re planning a Super Bowl parade already.”

–Field Level Media

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