|Bengals locker room full of UC players|
|Written by Admin|
|Saturday, 03 May 2008 11:34|
They've been doing this for years.
Friends at the University of Cincinnati, the two players are now storing their football gear side-by-side in the Cincinnati Bengals' locker room. They were given adjacent lockers in the middle of the room for a weekend minicamp.
``We hung out together all the time,'' said Moore, who was invited to try out at the rookie camp. ``We laughed and joked all the time. We laugh and joke now.''
They've got plenty of company from college.
Five former Cincinnati Bearcats are participating in the three-day camp at Paul Brown Stadium, a measure of how much the college football program has changed.
Last season, the Bearcats tied their school record for wins with a 10-3 mark, won the Papajohns.com Bowl and finished at No. 17 in the national poll. The team's success also earned notice for its players.
The Bengals drafted defensive end Angelo Craig in the seventh round last Sunday. They also signed Glatthaar and linebacker Anthony Hoke as undrafted free agents, and invited Moore and safety Anthony Williams to try out for contracts at the weekend camp.
That's five Bearcats in the locker room.
``It's kind of funny,'' Glatthaar said. ``After the season, you're kind of like, 'Aw, I'm not going to see them again for a while, maybe ever.' Then to see them here again, it's a great feeling. I got a call from Hoke when he signed. He called me and said, 'We're teammates still!'''
For the first time, the Bearcats' football team drew attention away from the Bengals last season. They started selling out their on-campus stadium, located a 15-minute drive from Paul Brown Stadium, while the Bengals stumbled through a 7-9 season that turned off fans.
The Bearcats' success and exposure paid off this past week. Besides the five Bearcats in Cincinnati, safety Haruki Nakamura was drafted by Baltimore, offensive lineman Digger Bujnoch signed with the Giants, and tight end Doug Jones signed with the Rams.
``Over the last few years, they've won more football games, and you see the guys maturing into football players that have the ability to compete for jobs on this level,'' Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said. ``They continue to get better each and every year.''
It's particularly pleasing for those who got to stay close to home.
``It's just a thrill to be out there, period,'' said Moore, who grew up in nearby Dayton and attended Bengals games. ``It's a once-in-a-lifetime thing. I went to a couple of games back when Corey Dillon was here.''
Craig, the first Bearcat drafted since cornerback Artrell Hawkins in 1998, already knew some of the Bengals players. He watched them work out at training camp last summer.
``To have my teammates here is a blessing,'' Craig said.
They sat together in the defensive and offensive team meetings, and compared notes on their new playbooks at night. Two of their first three workouts were held in pouring rain at Paul Brown Stadium - the Bengals haven't invested in a covered practice field.
The wet workouts were reminiscent of their afternoon practices in the elements at UC's uncovered Nippert Stadium.
``It's like being at home - the university to the big-time now,'' Moore said.
While they got wet, Nakamura was in his apartment in Cincinnati studying his Ravens play book and trying to master the different terminology. He hadn't yet checked in with any of his former teammates in Bengals camp.
``I want to let those guys get their peace,'' Nakamura said. ``I'll ask them when they come back.''
Just like old times.