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First Day For Bengals Rookies Just Like All The Rest: Unsure What's Next

Logan Wilson always seems to end up with the ball.
Logan Wilson always seems to end up with the ball.

All Bengals rookie linebacker Logan Wilson knows is that on Tuesday he received both an NFL contract and a Covid-19 test. Other than that, Wilson, one of those six new projected third-down starters on defense, isn't sure what's next.

Oh, he does know he'll consume Zoom sessions with his coaches and fellow rookies from his new apartment in Northern Kentucky on Wednesday and Thursday. And then Wilson, the third-round pick, has to come back to the trailer in the Paul Brown Stadium players' parking lot on Friday for another Covid test for the rookies. Maybe on Sunday he can get into Paul Brown Stadium for his first visit, physical and workout.


"Really, everything is kind of up in the air. The way everything in the world we live in is right now," said Wilson from the new apartment, where he signed the contract. "We don't know when training camp is going to start. We don't even know what it's going to look like."

What we do know is this:

All three drafted linebackers, Wilson, fourth-rounder Akeem Davis-Gaither, seventh-rounder Markus Bailey, signed on Tuesday. So did the sixth-rounder, Hakeem Adeniji, the tackle from Kansas.

Second-rounder Tee Higgins, the Clemson wide receiver, and fifth-round Khalid Kareem, the Notre Dame captain and defensive end, could be in the fold as soon as Wednesday.

And they're working on No. 9, Joe Burrow, the LSU quarterback and overall No. 1 pick, as we speak. No hiccups have been heard.

"I was kind of nervous. I didn't want to get the big Q-tip stuffed all the way up to my brain," Wilson said. "I think there's a general concern for safety playing our sport. It's different than basketball. In Major League Baseball you're pretty much separate when you are competing in your sport. Football is not the case. It's a contact sport. You're always in contact with someone else. There's definitely some safety concerns in terms of playing football. The NFL and NFLPA will figure the stuff out that will put us in the best position to be safe."

Wilson is certainly going to be around surfaces. That's why the Bengals chose him using their first draft pick that they spent on their neediest position. During his 52 games at Wyoming he made plenty of contact with other jerseys (421 tackles, 35 for losses and seven sacks) as well as the ball (17 pass breakups, 10 picks, four forced fumbles and recoveries) on his way to scoring four defensive touchdowns.

So for him, maybe the weirdest thing of all is waiting to get on the field after months of Zooming in the playbook. Or not meeting any of the linebackers yet. Except for Appalachian State's Davis-Gaither, who Wilson bumped into Tuesday as they got tested. He already knew Bailey, out of Purdue, and he met him at the new apartment to sign his contract.

Or maybe the weirdest thing of all is waiting around for that first practice.

"It's different not having practiced at all. Your information is just based on information from the virtual meetings," Wilson said. "There's really a nice aspect to be able to practice and make mistakes and not let those mistakes happen again type thing. It's going to be different.

"The speed is definitely a little bit faster than what it was in college. I don't know if it's anything in particular that's tough about that first practice. Just getting the nerves out of the way. I haven't met any of the veterans yet. It's been virtual, so you can see them, but being able to meet them in person, it's different."

In the world we live in, Wilson, a Casper, Wyo., native, and his girlfriend, who grew up in Colorado, found their apartment through virtual tours on FaceTime. They've been here for a week and have explored the community enough to know that they like it.

"Over in Kentucky, it has kind of a small-town feel," Wilson said. "There's a lot to do, but I think things are still pretty closed around here for the most part or they're only allowing a certain amount of people in. It's definitely weird, but it's the world we live."

Even a first official day in the NFL.