Jay brought this up earlier in the morning and I wanted to expand on it. Even though he's out for the year, Reggie Kelly isn't gone. John Erardi caught up with Kelly, talking about the emotional scene on Hard Knocks when he learned his season was over before it started. Kelly also talks about the team's Tight Ends, giving Daniel Coats a ton of praise.
“I told him how proud I was of him. I wanted him to know he’s a guy who can be an every-down tight end. He can make a great living in this game. What I saw in Dan was a need for improvement in technique. That’s pretty much mental stuff. Ball security, footwork, hand placement – those can easily be improved.”
As for Kelly, he doesn't seem ready for retirement. “Still feel it in my bones, still got an itch that needs to be scratched." However, this is the final year under contract for him with Cincinnati. He's not the only one. Daniel Coats, J.P. Foschi, Darius Hill, Matt Kelly and Brad St. Louis are under contract until the end of this year, leaving Chase Coffman and Ben Utecht as the only signed Tight Ends for 2010.
This begs the question: Do you bring Reggie Kelly back for 2010? There's a tremendous amount of respect in the lockerroom for Kelly and after being inactive for three weeks, it would seem that Coffman's development will be a drawn-out process. I'm also slowly becoming a Daniel Coats guy. At first, I didn't see the potential in him. But I think Kelly's assessment of Coats is dead-on. Once he gets better with technique, he could be our best overall Tight End next season. Coats will only be a restricted free agent in 2010, so it's very likely the Bengals hold onto him next year.