Texas Ex Jordan Shipley suffered a blow in his attempt to return from a torn ACL last season when he was waived by the Cincinnati Bengals on Friday, making room at a crowded wide receiver position that includes Armon Binns, Brandon Tate, Andrew Hawkins, Marvin Jones, Mohamed Sanu, and A.J. Green. It was the team's first round of cuts.
The latest leg injury for the former Longhorn star occurred in Week 2 last season, so he's not even a year removed at this point, and may not be fully healthy until the 2013 season, assuming that he can return to full strength.
While Shipley was making progress, it was clear from a quote several days ago from offensive coordinator Jay Gruden that Shipley's career in Cincinnati was tenuous, at best:
It's coming, it's just got to come quicker. He's doing everything right. He's coming to treatment. He's working hard. He knows what to do, I think (he) will tell you he's just not quite there yet. But he's getting closer. It's a tough deal for him. I know how good he was and thinks he should be. I know in his mind he's not quite there but he's coming along.
Working hard has never been the problem for Shipley -- the hard part has always been trying to keep his body from breaking down.
Still, a decision on Shipley didn't necessarily seem imminent when Gruden spoke with the press:
That decision will play out in the next three weeks. We are all about playing the best guys and may the best guy win. We know what Shipley has done in the past. He's been a great player for the Bengals. These other guys are emerging great players. We will let it play out. We are not going to predetermine any moves right now. The competition is there at wideout, that's for sure.
Unfortunately for Shipley, that competition was young, hungry, and healthy.
So after leading all rookie receivers in yardage in 2010, Shipley will now be looking for another place to land, which may not happen for some time if he can't contribute right away, as it appears at this time that he cannot. The burst isn't there yet, and until he regains that short-area quickness off the ball and with the ball, he won't be able to find a spot on an NFL roster, despite every Longhorn fan in the Twitterverse instantly calling for their favored NFL team to pick him up on after the news broke.
In all likelihood, Shipley will have to work out on his own to get his knee right, and then that happens, probably some time after the season, he may be able to land some workouts to show teams that he's back.
It will be another long road back for Shipley, but it's not like it's a road he hasn't traveled down before.