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Local NFL hopefuls work out at PBS

A pair of players from Miami University were among the 33 invited to attend the Cincinnati Bengals local pro day Tuesday at Paul Brown Stadium.

Defensive back D.J. Brown and wide receiver Andy Cruse took part in the activities, which began with a physical, drug test and meetings with coaches and ended with on-field drills, but RedHawks quarterback Zac Dysert was not eligible to participate because of the NFL’s geographic restrictions.

“We’re limited by the Rand McNally map and what the NFL designates as your local area,” Bengals scout Greg Seamon said.

Brown (Lakota West) and Cruse (Turpin) were eligible because they played high school football within a 20-mile radius of PBS, while Dysert (Ada) did not.

“This was lots of fun,” Cruse said. “I thought it went pretty well. I was just trying to show my presence and talk to the coaches and stuff and run fast and catch balls.”

Throwing passes to the receivers and running backs were Bengals quarterbacks Andy Dalton and Zac Robinson.

“It was a good opportunity for Kenny and Jay to work with them a little bit,” Seamon said, referring to quarterbacks coach Ken Zampese and offensive coordinator Jay Gruden. “I think it enhanced our ability to have the workout because they’re better than most college quarterbacks. Some of the (receivers) were a little surprised by the fastball. They got hit with it before they knew it was coming.”

Another area receiver on hand was Ohio University’s Bakari Bussey (Lakota West), whose father Barney played for the Bengals for seven seasons from 1986-92.

“I know a lot of the coaches because my dad used to play with them,” Bussey said. “It was definitely fun to come out here and play where my dad did. Hopefully I can be wearing a ‘B’ across my jersey like he did.”

Sixteen of the 33 players invited were from the University of Cincinnati and two hailed from the College of Mount St. Joseph. The others, including Zach Cline (Mason/Kent State), were eligible because their high schools fell within the designated area.

The on-field work lasted 30 minutes and served as the culmination to the experience for the players, most of whom will not be drafted but hope to sign free-agent contracts.

“We’ve seen them all on tape and we’ve been to almost all of their pro days, so we’ve already witnessed them run the 40s, do the jumps, do the bench press and all the individual drills,” Seamon said. “This is kind of a capstone on all of that.

“In and of itself, you don’t get a whole lot. But having all of that other information, this is one more exposure to them. And frankly, it’s just really a nice day. We take a photo of all the local guys and I blow it up and send it to all of their high school coaches. There’s certainly a football evaluation aspect to it, but it’s also just kind of a fun day for us and them.”

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