Safety Jessie Bates III is entering his fourth season with the Bengals, which makes him both a young veteran and one of the longest-tenured members of the team.
Bates’ experience in Cincinnati came in handy during the team’s offseason program. The Bengals added Ricardo Allen, Eli Apple, Chidobe Awuzie, and Mike Hilton as free agents in the secondary and they also have cornerback Trae Waynes back for his first snaps with the team after missing the entire 2020 season with an injury.
Bates said he took “a level up in terms of a leadership role” to help integrate the new faces into a defense that the Bengals hop will take a level up this season as well.
“The main part for us was getting those new guys up to speed,” Bates said, via the team’s website. “That’s why we decided to come in. The guys that we brought in are very intelligent. I know that they ran a couple of different things from where they came from, but how fast they picked it up and them asking questions is the main part of us installing.”
Bates would like to continue his run with the Bengals beyond the upcoming season and his move into a leadership position should help that effort if things go as hoped on the field this year.