The possibility that the Cincinnati Bengals may sign free agent linebacker and former rival James Harrison was met with unanimous approval in the locker room Monday as players reported for the first day of voluntary offseason workouts.
“If that happens, it would be great,” Bengals offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth said. “I have all the respect in the world for James. He’s a guy who I think would be great in this locker room. He’s a no-nonsense guy. Really a dedicated, fierce competitor.”
Harrison is a player quarterback Andy Dalton knows well. The former Steeler has sacked Dalton four times in the last three games he has played against Cincinnati.
“It will definitely be nice to have him on our side rather than looking across the line of scrimmage and seeing him out there,” Dalton said. “He’s been a really good player for a long time. I think just having a guy with experience and the type of player he is, it could be a great signing by us.”
The guys on the defensive side of the ball were equally as excited.
“He plays with a demeanor that we like and that we want,” defensive end Carlos Dunlap said. “Anybody on the team would love to have him on our team with the way he plays, just the way he approaches the game and his constant effort. And he hates the Steelers now, and that’s somebody we need on our side of the football.”
Harrison reportedly wants to stay in the AFC North Division. He visited Baltimore last month, but the Ravens elected to sign Elvis Dumervil instead.
Better together: Upon arriving for the start of voluntary offseason workouts Monday, each player found a black workout t-shirt hanging in his locker with the phrase “Get Better Together” printed on it.
Those were the same words wide receiver A.J. Green used to describe the mission he and quarterback Andy Dalton will embark on in 2013.
“We just have to get better together,” said Green, who has been to the Pro Bowl in each of his first two seasons. “There’s a lot of stuff we need to work on together. Last year we missed some stuff on the deep ball. We both can do lot of stuff better.”
Dalton said Green offers a sense of security with his skill set, but the key is not to become too reliant on forcing the ball to him.
“With a guy like A.J., the term ‘open’ is different,” he said. “There’s times going back and looking at the film I still probably could have thrown it to him on certain routes and different things where I tried to work somewhere else but it comes down to being smart with the ball. It’s knowing when to take those chances with him and knowing when to move on.”
Sanu support: Bengals wide receiver Mohamed Sanu, a Rutgers product, said he was as taken aback as everyone else when he saw the video of Scarlet Knights basketball coach Mike Rice being verbally and physically abusive to his players
“I know a lot of basketball guys and didn’t hear anything about any of that going on,” Sanu said. “I was as shocked as everybody else.”
When asked if he thought the school did the right thing, Sanu said he didn’t support the firing of athletic director Tim Pernetti.
“He’s a great person,” Sanu said. “He’s a great human being who wants the best for all his players, all his student-athletes. I don’t feel like he was going to jeopardize a lot of his student-athletes in that way.”