The first official step of the 2016 season began two weeks ago when the Cincinnati Bengals started their voluntary offseason workout program, and no one was more eager to get that process going than running back Jeremy Hill.
It was Hill whose fumble late in the wild-card game against Pittsburgh started the sequence of events that cost the Bengals the lead and their first postseason victory in 25 years.
“I’ve just been laying low and trying to stack positive days while I grind and work,” Hill said Monday as the Bengals began their third week of the offseason workout program.
“I’ve had a lot of great people in my circle and a lot of great people supporting me through this whole process,” Hill said. “That fumble hasn’t done anything but make me want to work harder and get better every day.”
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Hill has been the target of a lot of vitriol on Twitter and elsewhere. He said he understands it and accepts it, and all he can do is work to correct it.
“It just comes with playing this game,” he said. “You can’t get mad or hurt from it. All I can do is keep working to put myself in the position possible next season for something like that to never happen again.
“I’m not focusing on statements and comments and all those things. I’ve been focused on getting myself better so I can help this team.”
Peko welcomes Billings
Even though the Cincinnati Bengals likely drafted the man that will one day take his job, veteran defensive tackle Domata Peko was his usual gregarious self Monday afternoon, smiling and cracking jokes with reporters when they asked about fourth-round pick Andrew Billings.
“I knew eventually they were going to have to draft a D-lineman,” he said. “I’m 31 years old. But like I told other guys, people will say what they’re going to say, Peko’s getting older and whatnot. But at the end of the day I feel really good.
“I can’t wait to see him and meet him,” Peko added. “And with my personality and the way I was brought up here, going on my 11th season, I’m going to do my best to show him the ropes and show him how we work. We’ve got a talented group. We’ve got some guys that work really hard here, some of the best in the league on this D-line. He’s got to come in and see how he can contribute to our team.”
Not only is Peko entering his 11th season, it’s the final one of his contract. But he’s coming off a season in which he recorded a career-high five sacks.
“I’m going to feed my kids, feed my family and I’m not just going to give my job to anybody,” he said. “They’ve got to earn it. I’m here, I feel good, I feel strong and I’m just ready to have a hell of a season.”
Dalton golf outing
Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton and his wife Jordan will host the inaugural Andy & Jordan Dalton Foundation Golf Scramble on Saturday at Twin Oaks Golf and Plantation Club.
Dalton, and Bengals teammates such as AJ McCarron, Vontaze Burfict, Clark Harris, Kevin Huber, Cedric Peerman, Rex Burkhead and AJ Green will tee off with fans and foundation supporters. Following the round of golf will be a 2 p.m. reception with food, drinks and a silent auction.
Tickets are available at andydalton.org.
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