When Cincinnati Bengals players report for training camp each year, they know two things will await them:
The annual conditioning test to see who stayed in shape over the summer and a T-shirt emblazoned with whatever slogan head coach Marvin Lewis has stamped as the theme for the season.
Apparently the relevance of this year’s slogan — “Run on your own gas” — hasn’t been discussed as many of the veterans reporting to Paul Brown Stadium were either unsure of its meaning, or reluctant to talk about it, even though it’s something Lewis and defensive coordinator Paul Guenther have been saying since offseason workouts.
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Linebacker Vinny Rey explained its meaning last month during minicamp:
“This is a team game. I think the greatest team game,” Rey said. “However, the team is made of individuals who have to give their all and do their jobs every snap. You can’t do somebody else’s job and not do your own. The best thing you can do is do your job to the best of your ability. So you have to run on your own gas. You’ve got to fuel your own self. You can’t depend on coach Lewis or coach (Jim) Haslett fueling you up, getting you ready to play. You’ve got to do it on your own. Be a man. Be a professional.”
“There were instances last year where that was part of the reason we didn’t have the season we wanted to as a defense,” Rey said. “The main thing we didn’t do, we didn’t put in enough effort all the time. That’s a big part of running on your own gas. Nobody should be telling you, ‘Hey, run to the ball’ or ‘Hey, play hard’ or ‘Hey, know your playbook.’
“I love that quote, ‘Run on your own gas,’” he continued. “It sounds individualistic, but it really isn’t. It’s really for the best of the team.”
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