Marvin the Marvel

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As the father of three young sons, it seems appropriate that Marvin Jones cites a comic book character to describe his ability to make tough catches for touchdowns.

"When I'm in the end zone, I always tell the coaches that my 'Spidey-senses' are tingling," said Jones with a laugh.

The 25-year-old wide receiver might not have Spider-man's ability to cling to walls or swing from building to building, but he approached superhero status for the Bengals two seasons ago by catching 10 touchdown passes, including a team-record four in one game.

But Jones never got on the field last year due to foot and ankle injuries that required surgery to remove bone chips.

"We looked at it, got it fixed, and it's not there anymore," said Jones. "It was an unfortunate situation, but it's behind me."

Devon Still accepts Jimmy V. Perseverance Award on behalf of daughter Leah Still at the ESPYS Awards ceremony 07/15/2015

That was evident during the Bengals mandatory minicamp in June. Marvin was able to fully participate without worrying about the injury.

"That's what this (camp) was for," said Jones. "Just getting out there and playing football against other people and not thinking about it. It's been a great opportunity for me to go out there and get the feel back. I got it back and it's just been great.

"Once I'm out there and I know I'm good -- nothing structurally is wrong, nothing is going to happen – I just go out there and flow. It hasn't been a problem."

"It's just a matter of him knocking off the rust," said receivers coach James Urban. "The speed and the acceleration are starting to come back, but now that he's back physically, it's about getting back to understanding the looks and exactly how to attack leverages and those kind of things."

The final practice at minicamp provided a reminder of how valuable Jones is to the Bengals offense as he caught a pair of touchdown passes in tight red zone windows – one from Andy Dalton on the back line of the end zone and one from AJ McCarron next to the right front pylon.

"He really excels in the red zone," said head coach Marvin Lewis. "He's got a great ability to run and jump and catch, and he's got big stature. A healthy Marvin Jones makes us a better team in the red zone."

"When you're in the red zone, the windows get shorter so you really have to look the ball in or really attack the ball because everybody is meshed together," said Jones. 

While the fourth-year receiver was obviously disappointed to miss last season, he tried to improve by studying the game from a different perspective.  

"There were a few games where I was up in the box really looking at plays and looking at the whole offense and defense and reading coverages," Jones told me. "There would be times where I would say, 'A.J. is going to get this ball!' and they would throw it to him deep. I tried to make the best of the situation in terms of being a student of the game."

There was one other silver lining from his season on the sidelines: He got to spend more time at home with his sons who apparently don't have to beg Marvin to watch their favorite superhero shows.

"I watch cartoons more than they do," he said.

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