Opening Day sports action in Cincinnati on Monday was not strictly limited to baseball festivities at Cinergy Field. There was also a noticeable increase in activity at Spinney Field, as approximately 25 players reported to the Bengals' training facility for the first day of the club's voluntary off-season workout program.
"It's a good start," said head coach Bruce Coslet, "and things will pick up as we go along. This is just the lifting and running phase starting today, but we're limited by league rules to just 14 days of organized full-team activity on the field, outside of the mandatory mini-camp.
"We'll save those days for later in the year," Coslet continued, "closer to the start of training camp. For now, guys will work out in the morning under (strength coach) Kim Wood,. And if their position coaches are in town, pending scouting responsibilities, they can also go on the practice field with their coach or spend time with him watching films and doing classroom work."
Despite rainy weather Monday morning, quarterbacks Akili Smith, Scott Mitchell and Scott Covington took the field with offensive coordinator Ken Anderson, while receivers coach Steve Mooshagian also worked out with some of his charges.
"We just worked on three-step drops today and did a little light throwing," said Smith. "When the weather clears up later this week, we'll crank it up some more. It's good to start slow and work up to it, because the arm is still a little rusty right now. The best thing is, there's no pain at all in my foot when I drop back."
Smith missed the last half of his 1999 rookie season due to a severe sprain of his right big toe.
Two of the team's recent veteran free agent signees, tackle Tom Barndt and safety Darryl Williams, were among defensive players on hand for Monday's session.
The Bengals' mandatory mini-camp for the full squad is scheduled to begin Friday, April 28 and conclude Monday, May 1.
The first seven allowed days of voluntary full-team workouts are set for May 2-4 and May 8-11. The second set of seven voluntary full-team workout days has been scheduled for June 13-15 and June 20-23.
Training camp at Georgetown (Ky.) College will open on Friday, July 21.