CINCINNATI (AP) — Right tackle Andre Smith was back with the Bengals for the start of training camp on Thursday, but couldn’t practice because of a calf injury.
Smith was the only player who missed all of the team’s offseason workouts and a mandatory minicamp while attending to personal matters. He signed a three-year deal in April, keeping the Bengals’ offensive line intact from last season, but hasn’t been with the team since deciding to stay in Cincinnati.
“It is important,” quarterback Andy Dalton said. “He wasn’t here for OTAs and minicamp. I don’t know what the timetable is on him but I’m sure he will be back soon. It will be good for him to be playing football again.
“We’ve got to get everybody out there.”
Cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick was cleared to fully participate in the first practice, which was a big moment for the first-round draft pick.
Kirkpatrick hurt his left knee during workouts last summer, forcing him to miss all of training camp and the first half of the season. It bothered him again at the end of the season, limiting him to five games total.
“I’m probably the only guy in the country that’s excited about training camp,” Kirkpatrick said before the practice.
Kirkpatrick, the 17th overall pick last year, expected to challenge for a starting job right away as a rookie. The injury changed his perspective in a lot of ways.
“The injury just set me back and made me think like, `Wow, look where I’m at,'” he said. “At first, I didn’t look at it like that. I was just so ready to go, I was anxious, I felt like I had to prove something.
“But now it’s a blessing to even be in this situation.”
The Bengals had eight players limited by injuries: receiver Tyrone Goard (finger), fullback Chris Pressley (knee), quarterback Zac Robinson (elbow), halfback Bernard Scott (knee), receiver Brandon Tate (hamstring), halfback Cedric Peerman (ankle), tight end Bryce Davis (illness) and Smith.