Updated: 3:45 p.m.
Usually it's the rookie that introduces himself to the veteran. But Sunday at Ford Field (1 p.m.-Cincinnati's Channel 12) Lions running back Reggie Bush is going to say hello to Giovani Bernard.
Bernard is doing for the Bengals what Bush has been doing for years as they confound defenses in the run and pass game with their speed and moves in the open field.
Bush has caught 20 balls for 261 yards and two touchdowns while Bernard has caught 20 for 201 yards and two touchdowns.
"I've seen some of his highlights; he's a playmaker," Bush said Wednesday during his conference call with the Cincinnati media. "He's a guy that goes out there and makes plays. Especially when you get him out in space, he can really hurt you. He's definitely a great player for them and obviously a great addition for that offense. He plays that role very well and they use him well. I'll definitely go over and introduce myself before the game."
SLANTS AND SCREENS
» The Bengals return to Ford Field for the first time since they unveiled the A.J. Green-Andy Dalton era in the 2011 preseason opener.
It will be recalled it didn't go well. In fact, before the Bengals got the ball they were down 14-0 in a 34-3 loss.
And Green remembered ruefully Wednesday that on his first NFL snap he had to make the tackle when Dalton tried to hit him deep and cornerback Chris Houston intercepted.
Then on the 11th play of the season, controversial Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh ripped off Dalton's helmet for a roughing penalty.
"I'm glad your hopes were high. I don't know about all of us," Whitworth said before Wednesday's practice about the atmosphere surrounding the end of the lockout and the Bengals career of Carson Palmer. "I thought we were ready to go 0-16. That was what the prediction was. Seems like forever ago. Those first drives were rough, then we kind of found our groove a little bit.
"(Suh) kind of had a cheap hit on Andy. It is what it was. It was a young team in that situation for the first time. It's been a growing process for us. We've come a long way from there and we have a lot of new faces. It'll be great to go back there and have an opportunity to do well."
» Whitworth vowed not to turn Suh into a topic as he was peppered with questions about a guy that has been heavily fined for doing the forbidden on the field. But he wouldn't call Suh a dirty player.
"I don't know what a dirty player is. He's not any dirtier than guys that played the game back in the day. The real truth is he plays the game in an era when there's a TV camera covering every possible thing on the field and a lot that stuff gets put on film, so people know about it," Whitworth said.
"I think he plays the game on a borderline level where he plays with a lot of intensity and sometimes it carries over into the other stuff. I don't know that there are a lot of guys that play that way where it doesn't happen sometimes. I'm not going to create some huge thing about him. It has happened to him and he's a good football player and if some of that disappears people will know him more just how good of a football player he is."
» Green is going up against his offseason workout partner in Lions Pro Bowl wide receiver Calvin Johnson. They work out at Johnson's old stomping grounds at Georgia Tech and they're both tall, fast and can catch and jump. But with Johnson at 6-5, nearly 240 pounds, Bengals cornerback Leon Hall won't compare the two.
"Nobody is that big," Hall said.
» Cornerback Terence Newman (abdomen), who missed 15 plays Sunday before returning to finish, wasn't dressed for Wednesday's practice but worked on the side. Running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis (illness) and defensive tackle Devon Still (back) were out. Center Kyle Cook (shoulder) was limited. Three injured players not yet on the roster but eligible to practice Wednesday—wide receiver Andrew Hawkins (ankle), fullback Chris Pressley (knee) and quarterback Zac Robinson (elbow)—weren't on the field.