The Cincinnati Bengals have made it official. Defensive tackle D.J. Reader is making his return ahead of Sunday’s clash against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Earlier in the week, Bengals HC Zac Taylor shared he was optimistic about Reader’s status after the bye week. On Saturday, he was activated to the 53-man roster as reported by The Athletic’s Paul Dehner Jr.

The Bengals have strongly missed Reader on run defense but perhaps his biggest impact will be felt in the team’s collective pass rush. His presence on the field has a trickle-down effect on Lou Anarumo’s defense.

“He’s one of the best D-tackles in the NFL,” said Taylor on Monday. “And it’s not just the pass rush, it’s the run downs as well. Freeing up those around him on the line of scrimmage and the backers behind him.”

Reader’s return comes just in time for the Bengals’ attempt to avenge their Week 1 loss to the Steelers. This is a task that’s easier said than done since there are big questions surrounding the offense that remain to be answered.

If they’re to succeed, Reader and Trey Hendrickson will have to lead the way against rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett, who has struggled under pressure.

Featured image via David Dermer-USA TODAY Sports

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