While doing an interview with a reporter Sunday morning, Bengals running back Giovani Bernard was approached by linebacker Vontaze Burfict, who slung his right arm around the 5-foot-8 rookie and grinned, seemingly knowing what the line of questioning would be.
That’s because during Saturday’s practice, Bernard and Burfict got into a spirited argument after safety George Iloka popped and dropped Bernard in what was supposed to be a no-contact drill.
Bernard bounced to his feet immediately and didn’t seem bothered by the infraction. But when Burfict, who had put Bernard on the ground a few plays earlier, ran over to celebrate the shot, Bernard took exception and went after him before being surrounded by his offensive linemen and ushered back to the huddle.
“You hit him and he falls,” Burfict said. “We’ve got to toughen him up a little bit.”
Both players were laughing about it Sunday.
“That’s my man. I love Vontaze,” Bernard said. “That’s a person I definitely idolize on this team. He just has this fierce passion about the game. Every day he comes out he’s ready to go. That’s something I try to match, because every single day we’re going to go at it.”
In a Friday story written by Dayton Daily News contributor Carlos “Big C” Holmes, Bengals tight end Jermaine Gresham blamed himself for the playoff loss at Houston, saying “There’s no doubt about it, I cost my team the game.”
Sunday after practice, Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said that wasn’t the case.
“We all lost the football game,” Lewis said. “One play or one player doesn’t lose a football game.”
Lewis went on to praise some of the other things Gresham said in the article as well as the way he has responded early in camp.
“The interview he did the other day … was just outstanding,” he said. “I don’t want him to heap all the pressure on himself all of the time like that, but just the way he was speaking about his teammates. He really has done a great job of stepping up his leadership on this football team, doing everything that’s asked of him. He’s got such a big heart and is such a good kid. It’s fun to watch it come out of him.”
Ready but resting
Offensive tackle Andre Smith, who is on the Active/Non-Football Injury list with a calf issue, said Sunday morning he is “1,000 percent ready” to practice. But later that afternoon he was in street clothes for the fourth consecutive day.
“I would’ve been out there the first day if it was my call,” Smith said. “But again, it’s not up to me.”
Linebacker James Harrison is known as a hard hitter, and he doesn’t soft-pedal his answers either.
A little more than three minutes into an interview, Harrison was asked his thoughts on Hard Knocks.
“Pain in the A double S,” he said. “Thanks, guys.”
The Bengals listed the rough attendance figure Sunday as more than 2,000 as the crowd hit capacity at one point, resulting in people only being let in when others left.
It was the first time since moving training camp to Cincinnati last year that the team has reached capacity for a practice session.
The largest crowd for a practice-field session last year was 1,700.