Cincinnati tight end CJ Uzomah tried to send the message that he wouldn’t miss the Super Bowl by removing the brace from his left knee and throwing it behind him at the Bengals logo during a cheer rally.
His coach said Wednesday he was optimistic about Uzomah’s progress even though the Bengals kept the tight end out of practice.
Zac Taylor says Uzomah will likely work in practice on Thursday, with the Bengals taking advantage of having three days on the job to see how the veteran is doing. Uzomah only had nine snaps in the AFC Championship game before suffering a knee injury. He caught 49 passes for 493 yards and five touchdowns in his career-best season, and he had 13 catches for 135 yards in the playoffs.
“Again, optimistic with where he is,” Taylor said. “The team has handled the situation very well. We’re trying to keep our schedule as consistent as possible. And you know, so we’re halfway through our first day here, and our guys have handled the situation very well.
WHAT DOES THE WIND BLOW IN?
The Los Angeles Rams will train Thursday at the Rose Bowl, a change made trying to anticipate winds that are expected to blow 20-30 mph with gusts up to 45 mph.
“It’s the biggest downside of playing the Super Bowl at home that we have to get on a bus,” Rams coach Sean McVay said. “We do it pretty regularly anyway coming down to SoFi Stadium.”
Rams practices are disrupted by high winds a few times a season during the fall and winter at their training complex, which is particularly susceptible to the problem because the practice grounds sit at the foot of a small Windswept hillside in Thousand Oaks with no tall buildings or natural windbreaks around them.
The Los Angeles area is also under a heat advisory through Sunday evening with temperatures expected up to 90 degrees. That’s a big temperature difference for the Cincinnati Bengals, which had to weather a winter storm last week in Ohio and a reason the Bengals flew to Los Angeles on Tuesday.
Cincinnati coach Zac Taylor said the Bengals were hydrating as best they could and compared it to dealing with cold temperatures later in the season.
“What can you do?” Taylor said. “You go out there and deal with it the best you can by training throughout the week. We’re training in pretty good heat right now. I think our guys will do a great job handling it.
THE RETURN OF THE PRINCE
Isaiah Prince doesn’t regret the tough decision he made last season.
Withdrawing due to the coronavirus pandemic still hasn’t been easy for the Cincinnati Bengals’ offensive tackle.
“Of course I was very hurt,” Prince said. “I think it was probably one of the most trying times of my life. Looking back at my career, I don’t think I’ve ever really missed a game, a practice – not in college.
“So for me to miss my first season (with the Bengals) was kind of devastating for me.”
Prince was drafted by Miami in the sixth round in 2019 from Ohio State and played in four games, including two starts, as a rookie. He was waived at the end of that season and claimed by Cincinnati a day later.
The 6-foot-7, 305-pound offensive lineman was seen as a potential depth player to help protect rookie quarterback Joe Burrow. But the pandemic caused Prince to re-evaluate things at home and he decided not to play in his freshman year with the Bengals.
“Being home while I retired, just watching, I mean, I’m human,” he said. “There were times when I wondered, you know, how am I going to get home? But I stayed true and continued to believe in myself.
Prince, whose Bengals teammate Josh Tupou also retired, returned to school during the year away from football and completed his undergraduate studies at Ohio State. He used boxing to help him train and also worked at LeCharles Bentley’s O-Line Performance facility in Arizona.
Prince returned to the Bengals this season, was on the training camp roster and took over as the starting right tackle when Riley Reiff was lost for the season to an ankle injury. in December. And now Prince is preparing to debut in the Super Bowl.
“Those moments have definitely helped me prepare for this moment and stay focused no matter what’s going on around me,” Prince said. “I think it was a very difficult time in my life, but I still had to wake up every day and stay focused on the things that really needed my attention. That’s definitely playing a key role right now with everything that’s going on. happening, just stay focused and control what you can control.
NINE OF NINE
Carson Palmer hopes the Bengals have enough to beat the Rams on Sunday.
Palmer was the Bengals’ first pick in 2003 and led the franchise to two AFC North titles in eight seasons. Cincinnati granted his trade request to the Raiders in 2011.
Palmer is a longtime fan of Joe Burrow. Palmer’s brother, Jordan, worked with Burrow through the 2020 draft process before the Bengals made him the first pick and gave him the same jersey number as Palmer.
“I love everything about him. He’s so balanced,” Palmer said. “You can’t stop thinking about that playoff game (against Tennessee) where he got sacked nine times. It’s a demoralizing feeling to be fired so many times. It affects you emotionally, but you never felt that watching him play. He was cool. He was calm.
“There is great conviction and great energy. And this magic. Let’s hope there’s enough magic to overtake this team of All-Pros and all-stars.
Palmer says the biggest key to the game will be for Burrow to get the ball out quickly so he can beat the Rams’ pass rush.
“They’ve been so creative in moving (Ja’Marr) Chase and finding ways to get him the ball,” Palmer said between appearances on Radio Row on Wednesday. “Joe (Burrow) just can’t sit there. He has to get the ball out of his hand so Aaron (Donald) and Von (Miller) can’t go to work.
Rams coach Sean McVay isn’t sure why his voice is so hoarse, even though he feels great.
“Hopefully we’ll bring that voice back,” McVay said, speaking to reporters.
He went to talk to some of his coaches on Tuesday and the sound of his voice startled even McVay. He says he wondered what happened.
“I’ve got the honey, I’ve got all the remedies to get that voice back,” McVay said.
BIG PAYDAY FOR BIG-MAN SCORES
For a guy considered one of the best left tackles in NFL history, Anthony Munoz had some great hands.
The nine-time All-Pro and first-round Hall of Famer had seven catches, including four touchdowns during his career with the Cincinnati Bengals. Munoz would like to see a big man score a Super Bowl touchdown because Hydroxycut is offering $100,000 to a fan if an offensive or defensive lineman finds the end zone. It happened 13 times in the regular season.
“It’s good that they’re trying to recognize the big man, so hopefully one of our big men on the Bengals gets a touchdown and somebody can make a lot of money,” Munoz said on the AP Pro Soccer podcast..
Munoz credits former Bengals coach Sam Wyche with setting up plays that called his number as a catcher.
“Playing attacking for Sam was so much fun,” Munoz said. “You never knew what to expect, but it was great, solid, very innovative.”
Three-time Super Bowl champion and two-time Pro Bowl guard Mark Schlereth said he has never scored a touchdown at any level of football in his career. He’s rooting for a giant-sized scoreline on Sunday.
“I have the joy of scoring in attack, but never of scoring individually,” Schlereth said. “As an offensive lineman you don’t get that very often, but getting 13 this year, it does happen. A hundred thousand would be a nice little treat.
NEW HEALTH PARTNERSHIP
Hall of Fame Health partners with the Off the Field NFL Wives Association to promote health care services for former players and families.
Hall of Fame Heath was launched two years ago during Super Bowl week in Miami to bring world-class healthcare solutions and services to the football community. Wednesday’s announcement places more emphasis on the former players’ wives, children and family members.
“This may be the most important relationship we’ve ever formed,” said Jeremy Hogue, CEO of Hall of Fame Health. “These are strong women, and like most women across the country, they usually make the decisions about home health care. They make sure their husbands get the care they need and their children get the care they need.
The Off the Field NFL Wives Association was founded 16 years ago.
AP Pro football writers Dennis Waszak Jr., Teresa M. Walker and Rob Maaddi and AP sportswriter Joe Reedy contributed to this report.
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