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Bengals Feel Really Good About Taylor Mays And Robert Sands

Bengals safety Chris Crocker is certainly entering the twilight of his career. Entering the final year of a four-year deal, it's entirely possible that Crocker has already played his final game with the Cincinnati Bengals. Though he played through much of the season with an injured knee -- he had a procedure earlier this year to clean it out and repair the damage -- Cincinnati faces a desperate need to rebuild the secondary overall, including safety.

At the NFL Combine, Lewis praised the work that Crocker did joining the team in 2008.

"Chris has been a great, great guy who we acquired off the waiver wire (in 2008) frankly, in the middle of the season and he got us out of a jam," Lewis said. "He’s been a great leader for our football team since he walked in the door and he’s really, I mean, he bit the bullet all year with the pain he was enduring in his knee. He’s had that clean out of that knee since the season’s been over and is working hard at rehab. We’ll see what happens."

However Lewis acknowledges that he has a pair of younger safeties in Taylor Mays and Robert Sands, both of whom could be given an opportunity to make significant contributions this year.

"I’ve watched him and Taylor each and every day in practice and we feel really good about these young guys," Lewis said. "So we’re prepared to move forward however it shakes out."

Mays was acquired by the San Francisco 49ers for Cincinnati's seventh-round pick... in 2013. Sands was a fifth-round selection during the 2011 NFL Draft. While Mays only took part in 60 defensive snaps in 2011, Sands never saw the field on defense last year as a rookie.