Terence Newman is a seasoned veteran. After nine years in the NFL, or more specifically, nine years under the microscope of playing for "America's Team", the Dallas Cowboys, he's experienced almost everything the league has to offer. He has seen success, failure, superstars, under performers, praise, contempt, injuries, head coach after head coach, a dramatic celebrity-athlete relationship, and a 9,000 foot HD Jumbotron. He's also seen his fair share of first round draft picks. His opinion means something.
So, his latest opinion should be especially encouraging for the Cincinnati Bengals as it concerns the future of the secondary, his new teammate Dre Kirkpatrick. Per Geoff Hobson of Bengals.com, Newman said the following about the first round draft pick:
When he's sitting down and stands up, it's like "Wow." I didn't know he was that tall...He's got quicks. He's got good feet. I think he'll be a great corner in this league for a long time.
Yes, Newman is brand new to the organization. And yes, it seems unlikely that he would come in and NOT say encouraging things about the future of Kirkpatrick and the rest of the team. But what Newman said about Kirkpatrick is what we've been hearing throughout the entire draft process. Most everyone agrees that this kid can play. Newman's words are only reinforcement.
What's important now is that he embrace his role as a veteran and help tutor and mold Kirkpatrick into the star cornerback he hopefully can become.
"I never met a rookie that didn't come in eager to learn. He's going to fit into the mold of the rest of the corners I've known that have come in and learned from the older guys," Newman said.
Kirkpatrick's success is all but intertwined with the future success of the Bengals defense. Every big step made by Kirkpatrick is a big step made by the secondary, and consequently, a big step of improvement for an already terrific defense. Terence Newman is by no means the key to Kirkpatrick's success, but he can surely play a role. And, as a seasoned veteran, I'm sure he understands that.