Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick offered a declaration in March. It was bold, articulate and worthy of attention.
"I'm going to start," Kirkpatrick said. "That's my goal. That's what I believe and that's what I stand behind."
First, Kirkpatrick needs to return to the field. Second, he needs to outperform those above him on the depth chart, including Leon Hall, Terence Newman, and Adam Jones.
After effectively red-shirting his rookie season with various injuries, Kirkpatrick went under the knife in early January to clean out a knee that caused significant restrictions last year.
And despite the procedure neutralizing his participation during the team's offseason training program, Kirkpatrick has been doing individual drills for the past month with satisfied coaches in audience.
"It's the best he's moved since he's been here," said secondary coach Mark Carrier last month. "It's amazing what you can do when you don't have any pain. Remember, he's been hurt pretty much since he's been here, so he really looks good so far."
Kirkpatrick believes that he'll be ready for the first practice during training camp. However, Kevin Goheen with FoxSportsOhio.com writes that there's guarded optimism, considering that doctors have yet to clear the second-year cornerback.
Kirkpatrick is optimistic he’ll be ready to go for the start of training camp. He has yet to be cleared by doctors to return to full workouts so the optimism is guarded. The potential of having Kirkpatrick in the secondary and adding his skills to those of Leon Hall, Terence Newman and Jones puts a smile on defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer’s face.
We'll borrow a quote from the philosophical genius of Marvin Lewis and say, "we'll see."