The Cincinnati Bengals ended training camp the same way they hope to end their season, by emptying the ice-cold contents of a Gatorade bucket on top of head coach Marvin Lewis.
Following Thursday afternoon’s practice, Lewis stood alongside a few assistant coaches and support personnel and accepted the “Ice Bucket Challenge” issued to him by Baltimore Ravens general manager and Pro Football Hall of Fame member Ozzie Newsome.
Bengals linebacker Rey Maualuga was one of four people who dropped the chilled water on the group from 10 feet up on the SkyJack filming lift.
“I thought they missed me there for a second, then I realized they still had another bucket to go,” Lewis said.
In keeping with the theme of the viral sensation, which is being used to raise money and awareness for ALS, Lewis passed the challenge on to University of Kentucky basketball strength and conditioning coach Ray “Rock” Oliver, local restauranteur Jeff Ruby and Bengals IT manager Michael Kayes.
The dousing severed as the final curtain on this year’s training camp. After an off day today to move out of the team hotel the players called home for three weeks, the Bengals will face the New York Jets in a preseason game Saturday night at Paul Brown Stadium before settling into their regular weekly routine where practices are closed to the public.
“We’ve had a good start, and we want to continue to go,” Lewis said. “We have a game against a good football team this weekend in the Jets.”
Lewis’ primary goal in training camp has been to make it through without any serious injuries, and the Bengals came close to doing just that. Other than the broken foot wide receiver Marvin Jones suffered Saturday, it was an incident-free camp.
Even Jones’ injury is not thought to be serious enough to force him to miss more than just a few regular season games.
This was the third year the Bengals have held training camp in downtown Cincinnati, and the team continued to draw large crowds to each practice. Estimated attendance for the 16 camp practices was 37,000 — including the 7,000 who showed up at West Carrollton High School on Monday.
But while he said he appreciates the convenience of holding camp at the stadium, Bengals veteran left tackle Andrew Whitworth admitted a part of him longs for those days early in his career when the team traveled to Georgetown, Ky., for training camp.
“Me being an old-school guy, I kind of like going away,” he said. “I like going off to some apartments and being with the guys and staying in the same place. The hotel just isn’t the same thing. It’s all separate rooms. You don’t even see anybody. It’s just a different thing
“I like being in the four-bedroom apartment and everybody having a chance to talk at night and talk through things,” he added. “I think that’s a lot of fun. I enjoy both, but I lean toward the old school.”
Ticket promotion: Fifth Third Bank is giving Bengals fans a chance to win 20 years of season tickets as part of its “Move Into The Jungle” promotion.
The contest is open until Oct. 17, and the grand prize features a pair of season tickets for every year from 2015 to 2034.
For more details, visit 53.com/Bengals.