Bengals pay tribute to Lassiter family on Arizona trip

photo by: AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Kwamie Lassiter II (18) tries to avoid the hit of Arizona Cardinals cornerback Antonio Hamilton Sr. (33) during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 8, 2023, in Glendale, Ariz.

What a remarkable start to the fall it’s been for the Lassiter family.

Kwinton Lassiter, a current Kansas cornerback, picked off a pass for the first time in his career in the Jayhawks’ season opener Sept. 1 and immediately flipped the ball to his brother, Cincinnati Bengals wideout and KU alum Kwamie “KJ” Lassiter II, who happened to be right there on the sideline to witness it.

Three weeks later, another brother, BYU wide receiver Darius Lassiter, came to town for the Cougars’ first-ever Big 12 Conference game and fulfilled a lifelong dream by taking on Kwinton. He even scored a touchdown in David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium, although Kwinton and the Jayhawks got the last laugh in a 35-27 win.

Now, KJ has gotten his own moment in the sun — the Valley of the Sun, specifically.

Bengals coach Zac Taylor didn’t just elevate KJ off the practice squad for Sunday’s game in Arizona, where his late father Kwamie Lassiter played eight seasons for the Cardinals (and once picked off four passes in a single game).

Taylor made KJ a captain for the game, had Joe Burrow toss him a quick pass with just over a minute left for his first NFL catch and then gave him a game ball after the Cincinnati victory.

“It was special,” Lassiter said, per the Bengals’ website. “I appreciate what Zac and the staff did. It was an RPO (run-pass option). If the ball was going to come to me, I was going to be ready for it.”

The Bengals’ longtime special teams coach is Darrin Simmons, who was a member of the KU team that won the 1995 Aloha Bowl and played with Kwamie the elder during that tenure. Simmons called it “a really classy move by Zac,” adding, “What a great guy his dad was,” per the team site.

“Hopefully it was a good moment,” Taylor said. “When the right people are doing the right things you want to find a way to draw attention to that and Kwamie is a great example.”


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