Cincinnati Bengals TE C.J. Uzomah (MCL sprain) says he's not missing the 'biggest game' of his life

CINCINNATI -- Bengals tight end C.J. Uzomah will be playing in Super Bowl LVI if he has anything to say about it.

Uzomah is dealing with a sprained MCL in his left knee, an injury he suffered in the first half of the AFC Championship Game against the Kansas City Chiefs on Jan. 30. During Monday's virtual media day, Uzomah said he is determined to do everything he can to be on the field this Sunday to play the Los Angeles Rams.

"I'm not missing the biggest game of my life," Uzomah said. "I'm not missing it. That's my approach going every day into rehab."

Uzomah did not practice last week but did some rehab work with Cincinnati's training staff, according to the pool reports distributed by the team. In his first media interview since the injury, Uzomah hesitated to definitively say he will be playing, however. He designated himself with the unofficial "day-to-day" injury prognosis.

"My mind is yes," Uzomah said of playing. "But for the sake of everyone else, I'm just going to say day-to-day."

The tight end out of Auburn has been a key piece in Cincinnati's best playoff run in 33 years. In the first two playoff victories, Uzomah totaled 13 catches for 135 yards and a touchdown. He was carted off the field in the AFC Championship Game after he leaped for a pass that fell incomplete.

Uzomah clutched a towel in his hand and wept as he went into the locker room. He said the emotions stemmed from the inability to be on the field as the Bengals tried to secure their first Super Bowl berth since 1989.

"I was carted off the field, and I had tears in my eyes because I wasn't being able to play, more so than just the pain," the tight end said Monday. "I was upset I wasn't going to be able to go out there and compete with the guys and help on the field, win the AFC championship."

The Bengals veteran is no stranger to working with the team's training staff. He suffered a season-ending Achilles injury in Week 2 of the 2020 season. He returned in 2021 fully healthy and has started every single game in the regular season and postseason.

Uzomah said he'll be doing everything he can to play in the Super Bowl, regardless of how much pain he's feeling as he continues the rehab process.

"It's been a grind," Uzomah said. "It's been a lot of early mornings, late nights of just rehabbing and fighting through some stuff. But I feel really good. I feel really, really good."