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Bengals’ Collins not seeking answers, just improvement

Anthony Collins knows there are a lot of questions concerning his role with the Cincinnati Bengals, but he doesn’t seem to be in any rush to find the answers.

“I’m keeping my head down, not causing any problems and when they’re ready for me to play, I’m going to play,” said Collins, a offensive tackle entering his sixth season with the Bengals.

If free agent right tackle Andre Smith does not re-sign with the team, Collins would appear to be heir apparent to the starting job. Then again, if Smith isn’t in the fold by Thursday, the Bengals could target a tackle early in the draft.

“It doesn’t affect me, not at all,” Collins said. “I’m still going to go out there and play like Anthony Collins knows how to play. Point-blank, period.”

Since being drafted in the fourth round out of Kansas in 2008, Collins has started 18 games in five seasons, including a career-high seven in 2009 when Smith was out with a broken foot.

The Bengals went 6-1 in games Collins started.

“In 2009 we swept the division with Dennis Roland and Anthony Collins, two guys we have now,” Bengals left tackle Andrew Whitworth said. “We’ve got a deep locker room, and that’s a really good feeling. It’s something that gives us a little more confidence in our team. Anthony and Roland prepare every week and every year like they’re going to be the guy themselves. We would love to have Andre back, but we have guys who are proven.”

Collins, who is the final season of a two-year contract he signed in March 2012, is the sole survivor from the 2008 draft class that also included the likes of Keith Rivers, Jerome Simpson, Pat Sims and Andre Caldwell.

“Loyalty is my middle name,” Collins said. “The Bengals drafted me in the fourth round, and as long as the Cincinnati Bengals and Mr. (Mike) Brown and everyone upstairs want me here, I’m going to be here. Loyalty is my middle name, and that’s what I’m going to live and die by.”

When asked how closely he will watch this weekend’s draft to see if the Bengals select a tackle, Collins bristled.

“I didn’t even watch the draft when I got drafted, so no, I’ll be busy doing something else with my time,” Collins said. “I won’t be watching the draft.”

About 20 minutes earlier, defensive end Robert Geathers was asked the same question about the draft and had an interesting response in light of Collins’ comments.

“I’m definitely going to be paying attention,” Geathers said. “Any guy in here who says they don’t is lying, because those guys are coming to get our jobs.”

In an effort to keep his spot, the 6-foot-5, 317-pound Collins said he has given up some of his favorite things – donuts, Snickers bars and late-night trips to Jack in the Box.

He said he’s not trying to lose weight, he’s just trying to maintain so he can play faster.

“Oh my god, man, I want that stuff so bad,” he said. “But you do what you’ve got to do to keep your career going. I’ve definitely matured on and off the field. I take that real serious, to know that I am a lucky one, still here next to Geathers, in the same locker, going into my sixth year. I’m truly blessed.”

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