Tyler Boyd doesn’t need to verbalize how much he wants to stay in Cincinnati.
The Bengals wide receiver said he shows it every day in practice.
Boyd, a second-round pick in 2016, is in the last year of his contract and coming off the best season of his career after he caught 76 passes for 1,028 yards and seven touchdowns. He hopes to build on that under new coach Zac Taylor this season but already is thinking about a long-term future in the Queen City.
“I am not really trying to speak about it because I show it,” Boyd said Tuesday after Organized Team Activities (OTAs). “My actions are very valid. I’m here every day, doing what I’ve got to do to show them I care about them and I love this organization. I haven’t missed a practice since I came here, since OTAs started. I believe I’ve showed I want to be here, and like I said, I love to be here. I don’t like too much change in my life, so I’m satisfied being here.”
That’s not always the case for players looking to obtain big contracts. Defensive end Carlos Dunlap didn’t participate in OTAs last year when he was waiting on an extension and only showed up when it came time for mandatory minicamp. He and Geno Atkins both ended up getting deals done at the end of August, shortly before the start of the season.
Boyd is hoping for a new contract before training camp, but said he’s trying not to think about it.
“At the end of the day, I know it’s going to come,” Boyd said. “The only thing I want to do is just continue to go out there and just not think about it as much because I know upstairs they have faith in me and they believe in me, just like all the guys around here.
“I just want to make sure I practice hard because when you go out there and you don’t practice hard, bad things happen. That’s how it is around the league, so I just want to continue to work as hard as I can and give 100 percent and do what I can and make sure I do everything off the field I can to make sure my body is fresh. I try not to think about it too much because once that thought gets in the back of your head, and you continue to think about it and you keep waiting and waiting, things don’t happen the right way.”
The 24-year-old said he was overthinking things in his second year, not related to a contract but just in terms of his role, and that impacted his performance. He had experienced a promising rookie season, finishing with 603 yards and one touchdown on 54 catches, but struggled for most of the 2017 season.
Boyd recorded just 225 yards and was limited to 10 games because of injury but finished with a big game at Baltimore – knocking the Ravens out of the playoffs with a game-winning 75-yard touchdown catch — and built off that last year when he topped 1,000 yards receiving for the first time. Now, he’s focused on continued improvement, but that will require mastering a new offense that he is excited about.
“I just want to learn the offense and learn to run routes in different tight alignments because we run a lot of the same routes as I would be in the slot or outside that I’m running in a congested split, so I think I’m going to mess with that first,” Boyd said. “You just consume so much stuff, I know I will get locked in once camp starts, but I just want to get more detailed and polished so I can just get out there and play because I’m a game player. I like to just know what I’m doing at all times and when the games hit, everything will be clicking.”
It’s easy for Boyd to get excited playing for an offensive minded coach who clearly shares his passion for the game. Taylor gets fired up in practices and shows just as much emotion as Boyd, if not more.
With OTAs coming to an end this week and minicamp set for next week, Boyd said things are starting to come together in the new system. Minicamp is the last phase of the offseason workout program before the team breaks for about six weeks, but Boyd is already thinking about training camp and beyond.
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“I can’t wait for the games,” Boyd said. “I want to jump right into the season, but it’s all preparation. I’m excited to get to camp. Minicamp is next week, and we will continue to do kind of the same thing as this, but once the pads get on, we get to do real game-critical situations where we can really run the ball and a guys not just getting tagged. We can really block and work on our whole complete scheme of the offense, so I’m eager to step into camp in August.”
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