Krenzel Lands in Cincinnati

Less than a week after being waived by the Bears, the Cincinnati Bengals claimed quarterback Craig Krenzel.

Krenzel was the Bears' 2004 fifth-round draft choice from Ohio State, and he got an unexpected five starts as a rookie last season, when he was thrown into the fray after Rex Grossman was injured and Jonathan Quinn was ineffective.

But Krenzel struggled, completing just 46.5 percent of his passes (59 of 127) for 718 yards, 3 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. His passer rating of 52.5 was the worst of the four quarterbacks who started for the Bears, but they were 3-2 in Krenzel's starts.

The team asked Krenzel to play in Europe this spring, to accumulate more game experience, but he declined, choosing instead to work on his game at Halas Hall. That decision didn't help his future with the Bears, and when the team selected Purdue quarterback Kyle Orton in the fourth round in the April draft, Krenzel fell to fourth on the depth chart.

Kurt Kittner's success abroad and knowledge of Ron Turner's offense sealed Krenzel fate.

Krenzel was behind center for the Bears during consecutive come-from-behind road victories against the Giants Nov. 7 and the Titans Nov. 14. In the process, he became the first Bears quarterback since 1965 to start his career 3-0. Since 1970, just seven quarterbacks have begun their NFL careers with victories in their first three starts, and only three quarterbacks have won more than three straight starts to open their careers.

The 6-foot-4, 228-pound Krenzel suffered an ankle injury in the second quarter at Dallas on Thanksgiving and was placed on injured reserve on Dec. 7.

The 23-year-old will now have a chance to play in the state where he won a national championship. He was a two-year starter at Ohio State, leading the Buckeyes to a 14-0 record and the national championship in 2002.


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