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Bengals Offseason Has Been A Mix Of Anticipation And Anxiety

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Apr 27, 2012; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis speaks during the press conference at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Frank Victores-US PRESSWIRE
Apr 27, 2012; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis speaks during the press conference at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Frank Victores-US PRESSWIRE

How long ago was it that the Cincinnati Bengals lost to the Houston Texans in the AFC Wild Card game? Years. Decades. It certainly doesn't feel like 158 days ago, does it? In the meantime we've been appeased by an evenly distributed offseason to satisfy our NFL appetites with bite-sized appetizers, sprinkled with Bengals-flavored piquancy.

The panic of free agency inebriated even the most level-headed, a result not unlike falling face-first into a swinging 2x4. Talent-deficit teams paid exorbitant prices to purchase offseason championships through free agency and the Bengals yawned in the face of it all, flipping through the channels as if bored by the NFL's soap opera. The NFL draft, already nearly 50 days old, harmoniously supplemented the team's free agent signings; a mix of starters and role players, veterans and rookies.

And now Cincinnati has exhausted their allotment of OTAs this offseason. Ten offseason training programs have sped through turn four, like a reader gripped by another long-waited George R.R. Martin page-turner that can't be put down. This week the team readies for Tuesday's final offseason program when the Bengals kickoff their mandatory minicamp. Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer writes of the very basic schedule:

Head coach Marvin Lewis will have morning walkthroughs on Tuesday and Wednesday with afternoon practices and then will wrap things up with a late morning session on Thursday.

Typically offseasons play a drumbeat of boredom. And despite the fact that Cincinnati's offseason has been relatively quiet, it's been anything but boring. Perhaps it's the anticipation dripping from our britches (are you sure it's anticipation?), upgrading a team that was expected to rebuild, already becoming a threat for division dominance. No one really expected this. Certainly not most of us. Not this fast. Not right now.

No. The Cincinnati Bengals loss to the Houston Texans 158 days ago feels years older than that. And yet 92 days before Cincinnati's regular season opener against the Baltimore Ravens still feels decades away.

+ The Cincinnati Bengals announced on Monday that third-round wide receiver Mohamed Sanu finally signed his four-year deal. The contract is reportedly worth $2.713 million with a $563,252 signing bonus.

+ Bengals linebacker Rey Maualuga admitted that his overall production declined last season out of fear of re-injuring his ankle.

+ Former Bengals wide receiver Chad Ochocinco signed a one-year deal with the Miami Dolphins; the team subjected to this year's Hard Knocks.

+ Another former Bengals wide receiver, Jerome Simpson, was officially suspended for the first three games in the 2012 regular season.