Bengals open 3-day rookie camp

HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 24: Houston Texans free safety Andre Hal (29) tackles Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Alex Erickson (12) during the NFL game between the Cincinnati Bengals and Houston Texans on December 24, 2016, at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
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HOUSTON, TX - DECEMBER 24: Houston Texans free safety Andre Hal (29) tackles Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Alex Erickson (12) during the NFL game between the Cincinnati Bengals and Houston Texans on December 24, 2016, at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

With voluntary offseason workouts in full swing for the Cincinnati Bengals, most of the players will be at the facility Friday as the youngster additions to the squad filter in for the start of rookie camp, which runs through Sunday.

And given the buzz around first-round pick John Ross and second rounder Joe Mixon, some of the veterans might make their way out to the field to get a glimpse of two of the more explosive offensive weapons the team has drafted of late.But linebacker Vinny Rey won’t be one of them.

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“I went to one rookie camp, and that was the hardest thing I ever did,” he said. “I’ll never go back. I don’t want to see those guys doing that.”

The workload has diminished considerably since Rey entered the league in 2010. Rey had five practices in three days, giving him plenty of chances to get noticed as an undrafted free agent.

The Bengals will hold three practices this weekend, one each day. In addition to the 12 players drafted last weekend, there also will be a dozen or so undrafted free agents and a handful of other players participating on a tryout basis.

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The team is expected to announce its official list of UFAs Friday morning, and there’s a chance one – or more – of them will be beginning their journey to a spot on the 53-man roster the way wide receiver Alex Erickson did last year.

“There were a lot of unknowns last year at this time, just wondering where you’re going,” Erickson said. “But even once you get there, you’re unpacking your bags not really knowing what you’re getting into. Looking back on it, I’m glad I don’t have to do it again.”

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Erickson and Rey are two of six Bengals who finished the 2016 on the active 53-man roster.

“When I came in for rookie camp, I felt comfortable right away,” Erickson said. “I felt like I knew what I could do, and I had confidence in my abilities as a player. It was just a matter of learning the system and going from there.”

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Even though Rey won’t be watching the rookies this weekend, he said he’ll make himself available to talk to them any time after rookie camp ends, especially the undrafted guys who are trying to follow his lead.

“I try to tell all the undrafted guys to look at the veterans at your position,” he said. “See what he’s doing and try to do exactly what they’re doing every single time. I realized in the NFL so many players are just workers.”

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