The Bengals didn’t say goodbye to tight end Reggie Kelly Thursday night. But it was just a few speeches short of a testimonial.
They made it quite clear that while they want to re-sign him it is going to be more as a mentor for rookie Jermaine Gresham. A few weeks ago Kelly said he had no problem mentoring a rookie that everyone expected the Bengals to take at some point but he also felt like he had plenty of juice left to start.
So it will be interesting to see if Kelly re-ups. The Bengals need him to go between Gresham and Chase Coffman on the depth chart to provide aid and comfort to two guys that haven’t played an NFL snap between them.
“He’s going to add a dimension to us,” said tight end coach Jon Hayes of Gresham. “We all know Reggie’s been great for us. He’s been a great player for us and he’s done everything we’ve asked him to do. I commend him for that, but Jermaine will give us a different dimension. We’ve got to get ways to get better in this business because you guys know if we don’t we’ll be out the door next.”
If that doesn’t say Gresham is the starter, what does? But the Bengals still need the 33-year-old Kelly’s calm and brains at the position. Who’s going to show the kids? Of the four tight ends on the roster (Gresham, Coffman, Dan Coats, Darius Hill), only Coats has taken an NFL snap.
If anyone knows the value of experience, it is Bratkowski.
“Reggie’s very special. I know that a lot of people didn’t quite see the value in Reggie,” Bratkowski said. I know more than once, (Jets head coach) Rex Ryan has complimented Reggie in that he said he’s never had an answer for him. He was the one guy, when they played us, because of what we did with Reggie in the pass protection and the run game, he’s given that compliment to Reggie. We think highly of Reggie, and other people do as well. I think that door still may be open. If it is, great.”
If anything, the Bengals need Kelly for the rematch with the Jets. “Jermaine, let me show you how to protect Carson from Rex,” Bratkowski said.
Tags: kelly, reggie
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