Malone (hamstring) returned to practice Monday, Paul Dehner Jr. of The Cincinnati Enquirer reports.
Malone had shown well in OTAs and training camp prior to tweaking his hamstring, and the wideout's chances of securing a roster spot have further increased following the release of veteran WR Brandon LaFell. The 2017 fifth-rounder seems to have recovered from the minor hamstring injury, and could be active for the Bengals' preseason opener against the Bears.
Malone tweaked a hamstring Sunday, but before that was having a good start to training camp, the Dayton Daily News reports.
The Bengals' release of Brandon LaFell opens up one more roster spot among their young wide receivers. Malone, a fourth-round pick last season, was likely going to make it anyhow, but this may give him a chance at more playing time, at least when the Bengals use four-wide sets. He's competing against Alex Erickson, Cody Core and rookie Auden Tate.
Malone last caught a pass in Week 13, on the play where the Steelers' Ryan Shazier got hurt. The fourth-round rookie finished with six catches for 63 yards and a touchdown. While there's time for development from Malone, he'll be behind A.J. Green, Tyler Boyd and John Ross for sure, and Brandon LaFell if the Bengals bring him back too.
Malone caught both his targets for nine yards in Monday's 23-20 loss to the Steelers.
Malone has only six receptions for 63 yards and a touchdown on the season, but he played 33 of 64 offensive snaps in Monday's game, compared to fellow receiver Tyler Boyd's 15 snaps. While Malone appears to be the No. 3 receiver in the Bengals' attack at the moment, neither he nor Boyd are expected to see meaningful target totals over the final four games, even with rookie John Ross (shoulder) out of the picture after landing on injured reserve this week.
|3||9/23/18||@ CAR||1:00 pm|
|4||9/30/18||@ ATL||1:00 pm|
|7||10/21/18||@ KC||1:00 pm|
|Bye: Week 9|
|11||11/18/18||@ BAL||1:00 pm|
|14||12/9/18||@ LAC||4:05 pm|
|16||12/23/18||@ CLE||1:00 pm|
|17||12/30/18||@ PIT||1:00 pm|