As the name implies, rookie minicamps are for rookies (and other qualifying first-year players) only. All veterans are barred from participating and the only people allowed on the field are the players who have been invited and the coaches directing them.
There is, however, nothing preventing interested veterans from also dropping in and checking out the practices, which is exactly what a few of the Bengals more prominent veterans ended up doing over the weekend. On Friday, it was quarterback Andy Dalton, and on Saturday it was a whole bevy of players, as Andrew Whitworth, Leon Hall, Vontaze Burfict, Rey Maualuga, and Adam Jones all made an appearance to scope out the day's events.
Whitworth, Hall, Burfict, Maualuga and A.Jones made cameo appearances during the morning practice #bengals— Joe Reedy (@joereedy) May 11, 2013
So why is it noteworthy that a couple of Bengals' veterans stuck their heads in at the rookie minicamp? Because two of those veterans just so happen to be the very players head coach Marvin Lewis called upon during the team's bye week in 2012 to take a larger role of leadership within the team.
And now, during the NFL offseason, at an event that veterans don't have to attend, at a practice that involves only rookie players, both Andy Dalton and Rey Maualuga showed up to make their presence known to the next crop of Bengals players. It would seem that both players have taken Lewis' message to heart.
While both Dalton and Maualuga have their share of questions concerning their on-field play heading into 2013, their leadership within the locker room has been undeniable as of late. Along with Whitworth, Hall, Jones, and a few other players like Domata Peko, the Bengals have put together a roster brimming with both talent and leadership.
You have to love the fact that this team actually personifies the meaning of the word. Team.