Tight end Reggie Kelly was upgraded to probable on Friday and should return to the lineup on Sunday when the 6-5 Bengals and 4-7 Steelers play at 1 p.m. at Heinz Field. It will be the first time the Bengals have had all three of their tight ends healthy for the same game since Oct. 26 against Seattle. Matt Schobel and Tony Stewart have been sharing Kelly's starting position since he suffered a stress fracture in his left foot against the Seahawks.
"I'm trying to work some things out, trying to get some of the soreness out and get back into the groove of things," said Kelly, who has 10 catches for 69 yards and one touchdown this season. "(Schobel and Stewart) have been doing a great job all year any way and with me being down they just had the opportunity to continue to contribute and contribute a lot more. They stepped up to the plate and answered the challenge."
The Bengals have rushed for more than 200 yards in each of the last three games. The offensive line doesn't produce all of those holes by themselves – the tight ends, wide receivers and fullback Jeremi Johnson are all part of the package as well. Kelly was signed as a free agent this past offseason from Atlanta in part because of his blocking ability.
A Cincinnati win would leave the Bengals no worse than tied with Baltimore for first place in the AFC North as the teams get ready to face each other in Maryland next week. The Ravens host San Francisco on Sunday. While the Bengals are in the second of three straight road games, the Ravens will be playing the second of three straight home games. They beat Seattle last week, 44-41 in overtime, by overcoming a 17-point deficit in the fourth quarter.
Cincinnati is 2-3 on the road this season after beating San Diego 34-17 last week.
CAPTAINS NAMED – Through the first 11 games this season, the Bengals have rotated captains. It was a way for head coach Marvin Lewis, who was responsible for naming the captains, to make sure all of the players felt they had an equal stake in the team's leadership. For the final five games, however, the players have voted for four permanent captains: Kitna, linebacker Kevin Hardy, safety Kevin Kaesviharn and cornerback Reggie Myles.
"We tried to get all of the veteran guys an opportunity," said Lewis. "It's been great and they've done good at it. I just feel that now where we are in the season that let's let the players speak for themselves and those were the guys that they voted to represent them."