The Cincinnati Bengals are hosting the Carolina Panthers Thursday night, playing their third preseason game that's generally described as the "dress rehearsal".
Bengals special teams coach Darrin Simmons is a former assistant special teams and assistant strength and conditioning coach for the Panthers from 1999-2002. Strength and Conditioning coach Chip Morton, on the Panthers coaching staff from 1995-98, attended the university of North Carolina.
Panthers defensive line coach Eric Washington coached at the Ohio State University from 1995-98. Panthers offensive coordinator hails from Toledo, Ohio. Panthers offensive line coach John Matsko played at Ken State (1970-72) and coached at Miami University (1974-75). Panthers defensive backs coach Ron Meeks joined the Bengals coaching staff in 1992 and stayed through the 1996 season.
The Bengals have a deep connection with the Carolinas. A.J. Green is from Summerville, South Carolina. Jerome Simpson (Reidsville, North Carolina) played at Coastal Carolina. Defensive ends Robert Geathers (Georgetown) and Carlos Dunlap (North Charleston) are from South Carolina. Brandon Ghee (Fayetteville, North Carolina) played college ball at Wake Forest. Cornerback Fred Bennett (Manning, South Carolina) played at South Carolina. Linebacker Manny Lawson (Goldsboro, North Carolina) played at North Carolina State in college. Linebacker Vincent Rey played at Duke.
Panthers quarterback Tony Pike (Reading High School) played at the University of Cincinnati. Offensive tackle Gary Williams (Louisville, Kentucky) played at the University of Kentucky. Panthers tight end Gary Bambridge, defensive end Malcolm Tatum and wide receiver Trent Guy played at Louisville. Panthers cornerback Chris Gamble, guard Bryant Brown and tight end Ben Hartsock played at the Ohio State University.