'There's no better training in the country': Inside the Bengals' secret weapon to getting ready this offseason

Sam Hubbard working out
Posted at 11:14 PM, Jul 26, 2022

BLUE ASH, Ohio — There is no glitz, no glamour. Just white walls, weight machines and, on this day, a handful of Bengals players sweating as they endure a long workout at Black Sheep Performance in an industrial park in Blue Ash.

"You have everything you need here to get better," says Bengals defensive end Cam Sample. "That's what I like about it."

Included in that is owner and performance coach Patrick Coyne. Coyne and Black Sheep are the Bengals' offseason secret weapon.

Coyne grew up in the Tri-State, played football at the University of Cincinnati and then moved to big cities to train NFL players. He then brought that mentality home to train players of all levels including Joe Burrow, who trains at Black Sheep in the offseason. Coyne admits it is a dream come true.

"My first goal was to train NFL athletes for the combine," Coyne said. "And once that got a little deeper, I wanted to train a number one draft pick, I wanted him in the gym."

Now, a large contingency of Bengals players forego traveling to Los Angeles or Miami to train in the offseason and instead train in Blue Ash with Coyne and his staff. They start in March and sweat through workouts in the same space together all summer.

Being with his teammates appeals to tight end Drew Sample.

"I get to be with my teammates and other guys in the NFL, and it's local so it's great," Drew Sample said. "There's no place like it."

The same goes for Cam Sample, who said he wanted build on the team mentality in his first true offseason.

"My big thing was I wanted to be here with the guys I'll be with the whole time," Cam Sample said. "So building bonds with Sam (Hubbard, defensive end) and Khalid (Kareem, defensive end) ... these guys I'm working with day in and day out."

Part of being together through workouts means pushing each other to prepare for the season.

"We've been here for months training hard every single day," Hubbard said. "I'm in the best shape of my life I'm ready to go."

Players said Coyne earned their trust.

"There's no better training in the country," Burrow said. "Why go across the country to get inferior training when I can stay home and get the best?"

On the last day before training camp started, Drew Sample said everyone is excited to get back after training with Coyne. Coyne said he feels "an immense amount of joy" watching the players progress through their training.

"A lot of pride, like a lot of true happiness," said Coyne. "When they went to the Super Bowl last year, I told people I told you so. I've been seeing it every single day and I saw the culture shift because they were all together in here. Now, it's time to go put it on a big stage and watch them do what they're good at. You just got to step away and watch."

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