At the start of the regular season, Bengals safety Jessie Bates said he’d be playing “pissed off” because he was unable to reach agreement with the team on a contract that would keep him in the fold beyond the 2021 season.
Bates was coming off a standout 2020 season and the prospect of adding an edge to his game seemed like it could be a positive for the Bengals defense. It has not played out that way, however.
Bates has been less effective through the first half of this season and he admitted this week that he’s been paying too much attention to contractual matters.
“I think it kind of goes into everything. I feel like I’m at a better head space now than I was at the beginning of the season,” Bates said, via the team website. “So caught on to proving the wrong people right and the main thing I should be focusing on is proving the right people right as far as my coaches, my teammates, my family and not worry about all of the other stuff. I know that’s going to work out, I know what type of player I am, that stuff’s going to work out regardless. But like I said I’ve got to be better for this team, so I’m excited for it.”
The Bengals took a two-game losing streak into their Week 10 bye and they’ll try to right the ship in Las Vegas this weekend. Having Bates with his eyes on football rather than the offseason would benefit that effort.