Monday is kicking off a big week at Paul Brown Stadium, the last full one before the April 25-27 draft.
The Bengals begin their offseason workouts Monday and the first bevy of locker-room quotes since the players bagged their disappointment and belongings in the Jan. 7 Cleanout should start hitting cyberspace around 9:45 a.m.
Among the things we’ll hear is that left tackle Andrew Whitworth is recovering well from his knee surgery and expects to be back for the first day of training camp in late July and the same with rookie cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick. They may not be seen on the field during the spring, which is why the Bengals are looking for some bodies, particularly on the offensive line.
Also certain to be heard is that middle linebacker Rey Maualuga is in the best shape of his NFL career with the help of his MMA training in Los Angeles and that new SAM backer candidate Aaron Maybin is excited about the chance to join the lengthy list of players that have revived their careers under defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer: Safeties Chris Crocker and Reggie Nelson, cornerbacks Terence Newman and Adam Jones, and linebackers Dhani Jones and Thomas Howard to name a few.
And franchise player Michael Johnson won’t be on the premises since he’s finishing up his semester’s work at Georgia Tech and is expected when the Bengals go on the field the week of May 20.
Also Monday, the Bengals should have a pretty good idea where the James Harrison thing is going. It’s believed the Bengals gave Harrison an offer over the weekend and that the sides have decided to talk about it Monday. It sounds like Harrison wants to be here and that head coach Marvin Lewis has already struck up a good relationship with him, and that means a lot in these parts and could very well bode well for a deal fairly quickly.
It looks like Harrison is Lewis’s kind of guy, a throwback to Lewis’s Greg Lloyd days in Pittsburgh when he loved coaching a deadly serious pro who had no fear, backed down from no one, and was all football. And it looks like Lewis has what Harrison wants, a top 10 defense that can win the AFC North.
(A snapshot to just how Lewis relates to players could be seen last week when he saw middle backer Vontaze Burfict for the first time since Jan. 7 and they wrestled around in a playful greeting. Then he promptly shot down Burfict’s request for a locker change.)
On Monday the Bengals are also expected to announce they’ve re-signed running back Bernard Scott and signed former Browns tight end Alex Smith.
Then on Tuesday morning the Bengals are hosting 31 college prospects that played high school or college in the metro Cincinnati area. It’s also the first Tuesday the NFL schedule could be released.
During the rest of the week the Bengals figure to entertain the last of their 30 draft prospects that each team is allowed to bring to its facility.
Tags: Aaron Maybin, Andrew Whitworth, Dre Kirkpatrick, James Harrison, Marvin Lewis, Michael Johnson, Rey Maualuga
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Offseason workouts don’t start for another month but three Bengals are headed to Paul Brown Stadium on Thursday to work the phones at 2:30 p.m. to thank Bengals season-ticket holders for renewing. Defensive tackle Domata Peko and left tackle Andrew Whitworth, the team’s de facto captains, along with cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick, one of last season’s first-round draft picks, plan to make the thank you calls.
Tags: Andrew Whitworth, Domata Peko, Dre Kirkpatrick
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Bengals cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick tweeted he’s having a medical procedure Friday but it’s not expected to derail his training camp.
Kirkpatrick, Cincinnati’s first pick in last year’s draft, missed virtually all of his first training camp as well as the first half of the season with a bone spur in his knee. Kirkpatrick went on injured reserve Christmas Day when the knee became irritated and indications are he’s underdoing what appears to be a cleanup rather than a major procedure. He was never able to dog the injury bug. After he played in five games (two tackles on defense, two on special teams), he suffered a concussion Dec. 2 in San Diego, missed the next two games, and when it looked like he was ready to come back the knee flared up.
Tags: Dre Kirkpatrick, Kirkpatrick knee procedure
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As the smoke cleared from the NFL Scouting Combine’s final workout Tuesday, the Bengals may have two more cornerbacks added to their list of players for consideration at No. 17 or 21.
Central Florida’s Josh Robinson, projected early in the process as a third-rounder by some, lit up his 40-yard dash time in Indianapolis with 4.33 seconds and South Carolina’s Stephon Gilmore ran 4.40 in a bid to break out of his late-first, early-second box. But Nebraska’s Alfonzo Dennard didn’t help himself with a 4.55.
LSU’s Morris Claiborne (4.50) and Alabama’s Dre Kirkpatrick (4.51) solidified themselves as the draft’s two top corners that probably won’t be there when the Bengals pick. But one AFC scout says the times offered by Robinson and Gilmore now give the league four possible first-round corners.
The knocks on the 5-10, 195-pound Robinson are that he’s got a small frame and didn’t go against a lot of big-time competition at Central Florida. But the pluses are he played well against Bengals Pro Bowl receiver A.J. Green as a sophomore and he can also return punts.
“I think he gets another look now,” the scout said. “Now you have to go back and look at his game tape and look at him at his pro day. And Gilmore helped himself in a big way. It’s the same thing. This will get them more scrutiny. Gilmore has got really good size.”
Good enough at 6-0, 190 pounds that Gilmore is being talked about eventually moving to safety, but the fast 40 time figures to keep his first-round corner hopes alive. North Alabama’s Janoris Jenkins looks to be in his own class. Tuesday’s 4.46 reaffirmed his physical gifts, but his off-field problems could take him out of first-round consideration.
“Jenkins is the classic gamble,” the scout said. “High risk, high reward.”
Alabama’s Mark Barron didn’t run Tuesday, but he’s the lock No. 1 safety. Notre Dame’s Harrison Smith tore off a 4.57 and the scout says, “That will put him in the discussion in the first round.” But in all probability he won’t grade high enough for the Bengals to take a safety that’s not Barron in the first round.
Tags: Dre Kirkpatrick, Harrison Smith, Janoris Jenkins, Josh Robinson, Mark Barron, Morris Claiborne, Stephon Gilmore
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