Running back Aaron Brown, the newest Bengal, is in a comfortable spot and not just because his old quarterback from TCU is calling the shots nowadays. Friday turned out to be his second workout with the Bengals since the Lions cut him after one game and one carry last season.
"They called me right after that in October and I was kind of down and they didn't sign me after the workout," Brown said Monday. "So when they called me again last week, I thought it was a good sign they wanted to fly me in a second time. I'm in a better frame of mind, I've been eating better and taking care of myself and I just said, 'You know what? I'm going to blow up this workout.' Then when I got there I was familiar with the coaches and the drills."
The 6-0, 196-pound Brown says he ran 4.43 seconds in the 40-yard dash at Paul Brown Stadium on Friday and he thinks he could have been in the 4.3s if he wasn't wearing so many clothes. Since the Lions took him in the sixth round in the 2009 draft out of TCU, he's carried the ball 45 times for a 4.2 yards per carry in 22 NFL games.
As offensive coordinator Jay Gruden said last week on the subject of running backs, everybody is looking for that Arian Foster-type guy to come out of nowhere and become a Pro Bowler. Gruden says it's difficult to go out and look for one type of back when each one pretty much has his own style.
Basically, it seems like Gruden is looking for three things: He's looking for more than one, he wants them to be able to catch, and "they need to gain yards no matter how they do it," he says.
Brown, 26, is two years older than Dalton and also grew up in Katy, Texas, but he went to another high school and says, "I didn't know who Andy was in high school. I just knew (Katy High) had a good quarterback."
Brown got introduced when he ended up in Dalton's huddle for the last two seasons of his college career, when he gained 5.1 yards per carry on 205 runs for 1,037 yards and five touchdowns. He also caught 36 balls, one for a touchdown.
"We knew he was good," Brown said. "Big-framed guy and a good athlete. Then it was like you forgot the athlete part. He was just flat-out a football player who could really sling it."
Brown got a chance to tell Dalton in person last week. He hadn't been back to TCU since he got drafted in 2009 and when he arrived Dalton was one of the former players on the Dallas campus. They hugged and Brown told him how proud he was of what he did his rookie year.
"The funny thing is," Brown said, "the Bengals called me a few hours later and told me they wanted to work out."
NO PRESSURE: Sam Monson has a good interview with Bengals left tackle Andrew Whitworth on profootballfocus.com, where Monson says his site has Whitworth's pass-protection grade second only to Browns left tackle Joe Thomas after trailing only Dolphins left tackle Jake Long last season. Only two tackles allowed fewer total pressures than the 20 Whitworth gave up in 2011, the site said. Whitworth also said his knee nagged him a bit down the stretch.
OUT ROUTT: According to ProFootballTalk.com cornerback Stanford Routt, on the market after he was let go by the Raiders, toured Buffalo, Kansas City and Cincinnati before he chose the Chiefs on Monday for what has been reported as a three-year, $20 million deal.
It seems like the Bengals were practicing more due diligence than anything else. Routt, a good bump-and-run player, doesn't really fit their scheme since he isn't known as a physical player when it comes to supporting the run, a prerequisite for defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer.