What makes the rise of the active Bengals WR Trenton Irwin roster so special

CINCINNATI, Ohio. The last week has been a whirlwind of euphoria for Cincinnati Bengals receiver Trenton Irvine.

This time last week, he was wide receiver for the entire training team, still battling and looking to make his way into the active roster with a talented, crowded group of Bengals. The game against Pittsburgh last Sunday marked the third and final time the Bengals were able to use a standard elevation on the Irvine this season.

After four long seasons, challenge after challenge, rejection after rejection, Irvine just hoped to do something that would demonstrate his determination and patience. The result of his perseverance? His first career touchdown, which ended up being the game-winning 37-30 away win for his team.

Now he’s on the active roster, along with arguably one of the best receiving corps in the NFL.

“You know, it’s flour. And, you know, being an undrafted, free agent, you get fired, you activate, you try to play and try to do something for the team. And you know, look how it all turns out. It’s pretty cool,” Irwin said this week.




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Irvin’s touchdown against Pittsburgh almost mirrored a potential touchdown catch that was ruled out by officials in the Bengals’ decisive win over the Carolinas in Week 9. a catch that his teammates thought was “stolen”.

However, this did not stop Irwin. He set up for his touchdown starting with his first call-up of the season against the Browns in Week 8, the first game the Bengals played without J’Marr Chase that season. Irvin played alongside Stanley Morgan, Trent Taylor and Mike Thomas as understudies.

The touchdown from quarterback Joe Burrow to Irvine was a wheeled route in the back of the end zone, which he grabbed in the 2nd and a goal midway through the 3rd quarter. There was dancing, celebration and pure joy with Irwin among his teammates.

“We were there to shout and have fun. I mean, you know you took last week away and then put this one together in a special way, it was pretty cool,” Irwin said.

An undrafted rookie from Stanford in 2019, Irvin spent time with the Miami Dolphins before being cut in the preseason. The Bengals signed him to their practice squad later in October of that year. He was picked up every now and then and missed his first career catch, catching a 5-yard pass from Brandon Allen at the end of the 2020 season.

For Irvin, it was the same song and dance until he set up a 25-yard reception against the Jaguars on Thursday night at a football game in week 4 of last season. So far, it’s got him off the radar.

In the end, despite always being pushy, Irvin had his moment against the Steelers. All those years of patience and perseverance have paid off for the jovial, long-haired California guy who is always smiling in and around the locker room.

Bengals offensive coordinator Brian Callahan, who had been with Irvine throughout his time in Cincinnati, was similarly excited about Irvin.

“These are your favorite moments as a coach. You guys have spent a lot of time and effort trying to help improve your game and become better. To see it come to fruition at a time when we needed it, Trenton did a fantastic job,” Callahan said.

The touchdown was the justification for the long and grueling journey of Irvine, who received the game ball from this challenge. But now, with the Bengals focused on meeting Tennessee this weekend in hopes of making the playoffs once more, Irvin is all about business, just as he’s been since trying to prove himself from day one.

“It was pretty cool, but I think we should be able to take wins and just move on and go up in the next game, like we did in the last game,” Irvin said.

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