May 22, 2012; Cincinnati, OH USA; Cincinnati Bengals defensive back Leon Hall (29) stretches during organized team activities at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-US PRESSWIRE
Before the team kicked off minicamp earlier this week, Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis and cornerback Leon Hall made every effort to promote that Hall will be ready for training camp this year. Not that he's been gone or anything like that. Every day during OTA workouts and minicamp, Hall worked out with Rehabilitation Director Nick Cosgray while the team practiced. At this point the Bengals aren't leaving the impression that Hall will be subject to the Physically Unable to Perform list, which prevents players from participating (practicing or playing) through the first six weeks of the regular season, but offers a roster exemption. Hall said earlier this week:
"PUP is not really in my dictionary right now to be honest. I'm taking it day by day right now. The plan is to be ready for training camp. I am gunning for the first day of training camp."
Marvin Lewis agreed, saying that his cornerback has "exceeded expectations" and that all signs are pointing to a July 27 return -- the team's scheduled first practice of training camp this year.
Despite the fact Cincinnati rebuilt the cornerback position through free agency and the NFL draft, the question about Hall's recovery and return is of great interest with a dramatic impact on the team's roster. Presuming for a moment that Hall is unable to return, that opens the roster during an assumed ompetition that will be fairly intense. Will Dre Kirkpatrick succeed on his opportunities to start? Or will it be an all-veteran secondary at cornerback with Nate Clements or Terence Newman or Jason Allen or Adam Jones?
Regardless the optimstism Hall and Lewis are promoting can only force a conclusion that Hall will return by training camp. And as Lewis often says, "that's a good thing."