CINCINNATI - It was an unusual offseason for both Cincinnati Bengals players and coaches. Instead of planned offseason workouts done as a team, players were left to get ready for the season on their own due to the lockout that ended Monday when players agreed to a new deal with owners.
Several members of the team spent their summer working out at Ignition Athletics in Mason, Ohio while the lockout was in effect for 132 days.
In a few days players will pack up for their annual trip to Georgetown College in Kentucky for training camp. It appears the Bengals will report to Paul Brown Stadium for physicals on Thursday and report to Georgetown College on Friday.
Bengals wide receiver Jerome Simpson was one of the regulars who worked out with other team members while the lockout was in effect. He and dozens of other players took part in a team-run offseason workout at the University of Cincinnati throughout the summer.
"Everybody is happy and we get to play football again," Simpson said.
Since the lockout has ended, veterans like Tank Johnson say fans should start getting ready for the season.
"Football is here, it's not going anywhere, and you can just probably get your season tickets and get ready."
Johnson understands that the fight between the players and owners was frustrating for the fans that make NFL football possible.
"Any corporation, any big business has to go through a period of restructuring and this has been our period of restructuring, sometimes it gets ugly, but it got done."
Johnson says the deal will improve player safety by limiting the hits that players take from offseason workouts through in-season practices.
"Maybe you can take the life span of an NFL player to 2 1/2 years to maybe goes up to four, who knows?
The focus for players turns from making sure there is a season to making sure the Bengals are better than the team that fans saw last season.
The Bengals went 4-12 in 2010, after going 10-6, and sweeping the AFC North title the season before.