Bengals third-year defensive tackle and Pro Bowler Geno Atkins will be blogging his thoughts throughout training camp.
I was happy to see the start of Training Camp finally here for the upcoming 2012 season.
Seeing my old and new teammates gearing up for the battle in the trenches is what it's all about. Solidifying a starting spot on the defensive line is my goal going into this Training Camp, a little different from my first two seasons in the league.
My rookie year I was just trying to prove that I belonged and could play at the next level. I see the same nervous look on some of the rookies' faces this year, and I know exactly what they are going through. My second year I knew I could play in this league and was trying to prove I could run with the BIG DOGS on the D-line.
I believe training camp battles help everyone get better; the greater the competition, the stronger the team. Putting on helmets and pads for the first time in months and getting back into football shape is tough. Getting used to body-to-body contact, running, getting into the playbook and working out in extreme temperatures is where a team comes together. Waking up early, attending meetings, film study, field practice and then more film study and more field practice the training camp day grinds on.
I wouldn't have it any other way. I know our team has the opportunity to be great. It started in OTAs and Training Camp is the exclamation point as we gear up for a record-breaking 2012 season.
See you at the top, WHO DEY!