Trent Brown glad to be back with Bengals after absence

CINCINNATI — Trent Brown was glad to be back with the Cincinnati Bengals for mandatory minicamp after missing the last five weeks of voluntary offseason workouts, but he said he would have been there all along if it hadn’t been for personal matters.

The Bengals’ new right tackle attended the first phase of the team’s offseason program at the end of April and early May; however, by the time the players were able to move to position group drills and then into Organized Team Activities, Brown had to step away and return home to Dallas.

Brown participated in his first practice in front of media Tuesday, the first of a three-day mandatory minicamp.

“The only reason I wasn’t here is I had a few family emergencies where I had to stay back home, but it was finally clear enough for me to come out and be back with the team,” Brown said. “I was Zoomed in for meetings, so I was still here, just not able to do the physical part.”

Brown did not wish to disclose further details about his family emergencies but said “it’s trending upward.”

While he was away, coaches and teammates were reaching out to Brown to make sure he was alright, which he was appreciative of, especially being so new to the team. The 10th-year veteran didn’t necessarily need the experience he could have gained by physically being around his new teammates the past five weeks, but still would have preferred to be around for the whole offseason.

His temporary departure came just as the rookies were getting integrated into the team.

“Felt good; glad to be back,” Brown said. “Just being with the guys and actually doing it. Being here in the building is definitely more valuable, especially as a new guy, just learning the ins and outs and intricacies of the offense. It’s so much more valuable to be here.”

In Brown’s absence, rookie first-round draft pick Amarius Mims was getting the first-team reps at right tackle, but the expectation is that Brown will be starting there and mentoring Mims as he develops into the eventual successor.

The Bengals signed Brown to a one-year, $4.4 million contract in March to replace departed free agent Jonah Williams, and they drafted Mims at No. 18 overall in April as a promising prospect for the near future. Brown is a guy the Bengals already know is up for the job. He spent the previous three seasons with the Patriots in his second stint in New England after also playing there in 2018, and his career began in San Francisco (2015-2017) and included time with the Raiders in Oakland (2019) and Las Vegas (2020).

Brown, who is 6-foot-6, 380 pounds, did line up at right guard next to Mims for a brief moment during Tuesday’s practice, but Brown laughed when reporters asked if the Bengals are looking at changing his position.

Although Brown does think highly of Mims, he is not ready to concede the right tackle job to him. All of his NFL snaps have come at left or right tackle.

“He’s gonna be all right,” Brown said of Mims. “I really think he’s going to be good. Just like any rookie who hasn’t played football at this level yet, it’s just some things, really minor things. I feel like he will be an all-time starting tackle in this league.”

Mims has stated on multiple occasions how much he looks forward to learning from both offensive tackles Trent Brown and Orlando Brown Jr. All three players are 6-foot-8 and provide the size to block the strongest defensive ends that will be charging after Joe Burrow.

Trent Brown said he enjoys being a mentor to younger players like he needed when he came into the league in 2015. His advice to Mims is “just learn and listen, focus on the small, little minor fixes.”

“I always try to be a wealth of knowledge to all my young guys wherever I’ve been,” Brown said. “I’ve always tried to help out where I can.”

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