The Cincinnati Bengals wrapped up their 2018 offseason program Thursday.
Before departing for various corners of the globe, they got in one last practice at Paul Brown Stadium and dropped some knowledge on reporters in the locker room afterward.
Here are five things to know from the last day of football on the riverfront until July 26:
1. Offensive line coach Frank Pollack had the line of the day, using a once-proud American department store to make a point about the need to evolve or die.
“You’re always constantly learning. You’re either getting better or you’re dying,” Pollack said. “K-Mart was a great store for over 100 years, and they’re not around anymore. They didn’t continue to evolve and get better. It’s all facets of life. So always learning. Always getting better.”
(To be fair, K-Mart is still in business, though many of the companies stores have been shut down in recent years.)
2. In his first year on the job in Cincinnati after a successful run with the Dallas Cowboys, Pollack said he liked what he saw from his new pupils.
Of course, he’s only seen them in what he called their “pajamas” so far (pads won’t go on until training camp), but this is a group that had a long way to go after struggling last season.
“These guys are talented, man. If you’re in that room whether you’re the first guy or the 16th guy in that room, you have talent,” Pollack said. “It is hard to play at this level. Pros make it look easy, so it’s hard. They all have great ability and great talent.
“It’s my job to maximize and bring it out.
3. For all the focus on new coaches and a new offense this offseason, the team’s best offensive player remains the same: A.J. Green.
He delivered a few words of wisdom on his way out the door.
“I thought we looked good,” Green said. “Still got a long way to go, but this was great OTAs. A lot of the young guys got some good reps and over the next five weeks we can get back in shape then get ready to come back and it’s all business from there.”
4. Joe Mixon, the second-year running back from Oklahoma who is expected to play an even larger role this season than last, said Green sets the tone for young guys like him.
“He works hard. He comes in every day and works hard,” Mixon said of Green. "That’s what I try to do, the same thing, mimic him. He’s been there before. You’ve just got to come in every day, work hard and try to uplift the group, make sure they follow.
5. And what about John Ross?
The offseason program began with Marvin Lewis praising his 2017 first-round pick on the first day, and the second-year receiver from Washington had a smile on his face after making it to the end still in good health.
“I just feel like a lot of people see it like last year he was a villain in my story and I don’t think that was the case, but it’s good,” Ross said of hearing praise form his coach. “When you do good things, people notice and they say good things about you. I think it’s a testament to how hard I’ve worked in this offseason so basically I’ve just got to continue to do that, not so much to hear it but to help.”