If quarterback Boomer Esiason’s groin injury makes him unable to start Sunday against the Raiders in Los Angeles, backup Erik Wilhelm will get his first start of the season for the Cincinnati Bengals.
Esiason, who has played in every Bengals game the last five seasons, is limping with a pulled groin muscle suffered in Sunday’s 20-17 overtime loss to San Francisco when 49ers defenders Pierce Holt and Bill Romanowski sandwiched him on a rollout play.
Wilhelm, a second-year player from Oregon State, has thrown 16 passes this season, but said he would be ready if needed Sunday.
“My job is to be prepared no matter what,” Wilhelm said. “The adrenaline really flows out there. That’s why I expect Boomer to play Sunday. He’s so durable.”
Wilhelm won’t be going into the Los Angeles Coliseum cold.
His only extended performance for the Bengals came at the Coliseum last November when Esiason bruised his lung on the second series. The Bengals lost, 28-7, but Wilhelm threw for 200 yards.