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T.J. Houshmandzadeh expects to return for training camp

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Former Bengals wide receiver and current intern coach T.J. Houshmandzadeh recalls how difficult Marvin Lewis-led practices used to be, but expects to return to coach more.

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Internship coaches help during the offseason training program (usually a few weeks of practice) before moving on. Cincinnati hosted four intern coaches from the Bill Walsh NFL Minority Coaching Fellowship program, including wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh; Keith Rucker and Kelvin Bell will join the coaching ranks early during Training Camp.

Houshmandzadeh will be back too... and as Bengals.com writes, he expects it be much easier compared to his playing days (and not because he's a coach now):

Houshmandzadeh spent the last part of his career taking complaints from teammates about the toughness of the practices to Lewis. But he says there’s no question Lewis has adapted to the rules. "Marvin and I never ever ever ever would have had a problem if I was practicing in these types of situations," Houshmandzadeh said. "They’re easy.  The receivers aren’t running as much. They're not taking as many reps as we were."

Overall, Houshmandzadeh's return was greeted warmly. The intensity was there. Players began chirping at each other during sessions and it prompted Andrew Whitworth to demand more swagger from teammates.

"That kind of confidence and attitude is something that would be good for our offense," Whitworth said, via Bengals.com. "We need some of what these young kids call swagger. We need some of that ability to have a confidence in us no matter who you are or where you’re from or how good a team we’re playing…we’re really good. And we’re going to bring it. We need a little bit of that attitude."

The other intern coaches that participated in the Bill Walsh NFL Minority Coaching Fellowship program were:

  • Chuck Smith, former standout NFL defensive end with the Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers (58.5 career sacks). Smith has coached in college at the University of Tennessee and has worked extensively as a personal trainer for NFL players. He worked Bengals OTAs this year from May 25 through June 4.
  • Keith Rucker, a six-year defensive tackle in the NFL, including two seasons with Cincinnati (1994-1995). Rucker is currently defensive line coach at Ohio Wesleyan University. He will work during Bengals training camp in late July and early August.
  • Kelvin Bell, director of on-campus recruiting for the University of Iowa football program. Bell played at Iowa and has served as a graduate assistant coach for the Hawkeyes. He will work during Bengals training camp in late July and early August.