Posted: 6:30 a.m.
In anticipation of the announcement that they are going under the microscope in HBO's training camp documentary Hard Knocks, the Bengals said Wednesday they welcome the exposure and don't expect any more distractions than what they normally get.
"Cool," said Carson Palmer of the possibility that became reality Wednesday night with reports of a Thursday noon press conference at Paul Brown Stadium featuring Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis and NFL Films titan Steve Sabol.
ProFootballTalk.com reported the Bengals would be featured in the behind-the-scenes series last month, so the players have had plenty of time to digest it. HBO sought to spring the news during the joint announcement with the team, but how can a behind-the-scenes show be kept secret for longer than a two-minute drill?
"It will be probably be about Chad (Ochocinco) at the end of the day. He's the face of the program when it comes to stuff like that," said defensive end Frostee Rucker. "As long as it shows we're working hard, that's all I care about. It gives fans a good look inside how it plays out up to that first game. I want fans to see what we go through in the meeting rooms and the strenuous hours and what it takes to get to the first game. I don't know what the commentaries are going to be, but we're around cameras all the time."
Safety Chris Crocker agreed that there are plenty more distractions than HBO. The tiny Georgetown College campus figures to get blanketed with cameras and microphones 24-7.
"You're all distractions. You're every day. You're more of a distraction," said Crocker with a smile of the media. "It's a chance not only for us, the secondary, to get exposure, but also for our team. I don't think people know a lot about the Cincinnati Bengals."
Crocker remembers the two most well-known episodes with the charismatic Ravens and the celebrity Cowboys and especially enjoyed the personnel discussions.
"Just hearing what coaches say about players because you don't know as a player how they're evaluating you upstairs," he said. "It's just interesting to hear how the coaches evaluate players and what they really think. As a player, all you can do is put your best foot forward but upstairs they have conversations about everything you do."
It should also get some good pub for the Bengal who is actually nicknamed "Hard Knocks." SAM linebacker Rashad Jeanty got the nickname from admiring teammates as much for his gritty play as his hardscrabble rise to NFL starter.
Already playing with a 16-inch rod in his leg, Jeanty didn't miss a game last year despite a painful case of plantar fasciitis and was voted the club's Ed Block Courage Award. Jeanty left Central Florida early for the CFL so he could make money for his financially-strapped family, and he made the Bengals after playing three seasons up north. In an effort to keep him off the restricted free agent market this year, the Bengals signed him to a one-year, $1.5 million deal that would have brought second-round compensation.
"I was actually watching it last night on NFL Network," said "Hard Knocks" of Hard Knocks on Wednesday.
"I think it would be kind of neat, kind of different," Jeanty said. "It's about competition and we've got a lot of guys who want to prove themselves. Why not? I just like watching guys compete. That's what got my fire going, seeing guys competing, flying around and having fun at the same time. That kind of gets me going."
And Jeanty has the storyline the show covets. With second-rounder Rey Maualuga working at SAM in the rookie camp, the writing is on the depth chart wall.
"I don't know where it puts me, but I know my mentality going into training camp," Jeanty said. "He seems like a good dude. I haven't met him yet, but I'm looking forward to it. He's not necessarily taking my job. I think it's a competition for a job. So whether that is set in stone, I don't know that. I'm going to work my tail off every day to make that decision as hard as possible for the coaches. I'm on a one-year deal. I've got more motivation than because of who we drafted. I've got motivation for my family."