Before the trade for Bills left tackle Cordy Glenn officially went through Wednesday, he pondered his number in Bengals’ stripes as he gazed at the lockers of the offensive line during Tuesday’s brisk meet-and-greet at Paul Brown Stadium. The man who wore No. 77 in Buffalo knows that is not exactly a hidden figure in Cincinnati.
“I thought Whit’s number might be retired,” Glenn said.
The number is head coach Marvin Lewis’ call, but it shows you Glenn has his new team’s number. He knows exactly what he’s stepping into as the Bengals’ new starting left tackle, the team’s biggest hole in the wake of Pro Bowler Andrew Whitworth’s departure via free agency a year ago. Glenn has had an insider’s look since the Bills took him in the second round in the 2012. They have played the Bengals four times and lost three of them.
“Tough, hard-fought team. Every time I’ve competed against the Bengals it’s always been back and forth type of thing,” Glenn said. “Nobody really giving any type of edge. I know it represents being here. I know what’s expected here. I know exactly what needs to be done and I’m ready to do it.”
What needs to be done is stabilizing an offensive line under construction with new offensive line coach Frank Pollack while looking to bounce back from the worst rushing season in franchise history and the two most harried years of quarterback Andy Dalton’s career. With a steel-belted resume built in 78 NFL games, Glenn brings the mindset of a Bills offensive line that carved out the NFL’s top rushing teams in 2015 and 2016.
He played just six games last season because of ankle surgery for bone spurs and is going through a rehab that should put him on the field in June.
“The offensive line has been an offseason focus for us,” said Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis in Wednesday’s news release announcing the trade. “We are excited to acquire a player who has been an accomplished starting tackle in the league. Cordy is young and proven, and he’s excited about being here.”
The Bengals also exchanged fifth- and sixth-round picks with the Bills, so Cincy moves up to No. 158.
At 6-5, 345 pounds, Glenn’s power is complemented by a surprising quickness that has vaulted him to as high as No. 8 in profootballfocus.com’s tackle rankings.
“Power, but being smart,” said Glenn as he elaborated on his game. “Knowing how to win against your opponent. It’s not always about being bigger and stronger. Sometimes you have to bring the mental part of it and figure out the ways to beat people.”
He may break the Bengals’ record for locker-room connections by a new player. He joins a quartet of his college teammates at Georgia: wide receiver A.J. Green, defensive tackle Geno Atkins, left guard Clint Boling and safety Shawn Williams. So there was plenty of room for joking as he gently busted Green for texting and not calling.
“A.J.’s a little diva,” said a smiling Glenn, knowing Green is anything but. “I’ve talked to Clint and Geno … It’s big for me.”
He’s already got chemistry with Boling, his college left tackle when Glenn played left guard. It’s one of the many reasons he thinks the numbers line up.
“I know he’s a smart player, good player, a veteran guy, a leader,” Glenn said. “The biggest thing with the line is it’s usually a tight-knit group and we’re a bunch of hard workers and we’re not going to be all in the media, the big story. But we just put our heads down and work.
“That’s me,” he said. “I’m looking for the opportunity to win. I like to compete. I think it will be a good fit for me.”