CINCINNATI — Since the confetti fell at last year's Super Bowl, fans have been waiting for the Bengals to return to action.
The week leading into training camp has had its share of tough news for the franchise. One day before camp, sources confirmed to WCPO that quarterback Joe Burrow will undergo an appendectomy. He is expected to miss the beginning of camp but should be fine for the regular season.
Burrow is not the only key Bengal that will miss the start of training camp. Building a strong offensive line to protect Burrow was a priority for the Bengals this offseason. Two of the three major acquisitions will not be participating as practice begins to get underway.
Guard Alex Cappa is still recovering from a core muscle injury he suffered earlier in the summer. The Bengals have Cappa on the Active/Physically Unable to Perform list. Right tackle La'el Collins is dealing with a back issue and was listed on the team's Active/Non-Football injury list.
"'It's our job with these veteran guys who have experienced this before — Alex (Cappa) is coming off of surgery, he feels really good, he's been working out. LC (Collins) has dealt with minor injuries before," head coach Zac Taylor said. "It's our job as a staff to monitor them at training camp. Ease them in the right way. I feel good where things are at."
When healthy, both Taylor and Cappa will be starting on the Bengals' offensive line. Fellow free agent signing, two-time Super Bowl champ Ted Karras, will be the team's center. Jonah Williams will return to the team's line. The biggest positional battle will be between this year's fourth round draft pick Cordell Volson and 2021 second-round selection Jackson Carman.
The biggest drama surrounding the Bengals this offseason surrounded safety Jessie Bates III. Bates will not be reporting to training camp. The Bengals and Bates failed to come to a long-term contract agreement. Cincinnati placed the franchise tag on Bates, which he has yet to sign. Bates' absence presents a major opportunity for this year's first round draft pick, Dax Hill.
"(Hill) is going to take advantage of the reps that he maybe would not have otherwise gotten," Taylor said. "You have to look at the bright side of things. You got a young player that has a lot of opportunities. He is going to get as many reps as he could have ever hoped for."
The Bengals staff and front office believe that Bates will join the team at some point. Whether or not that is during training camp is unclear. If Bates does not play this season, he will lose out on $12.9 million.
The Bengals' quest to return to the Super Bowl begins Wednesday.
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