From 2010 to 2015 Andre Smith and Carlos Dunlap were Bengals teammates. Dunlap joined the Bengals just one year after Smith and they grew together in the league, becoming Bengals starters by competing against each other in practice and helping each other to get better while lining up across from one another on the field. This offseason, Smith left the Bengals in free agency and was signed by the Vikings, led by former Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer.
Wednesday and Thursday saw the former teammates going up against each other in joint practices, just like they did for six years in Cincinnati. The only difference was this time, they were members of different teams.
"It was a little different perspective, but it was just good to go against those guys because I know what type of players they are and I know how they get after the quarterback," Smith said after the first of the joint practices via Local 12. "It was just a great opportunity for us to get better and them to get better also."
Before the Vikings got to town, Dunlap acknowledged he was excited to practice against his former teammate, just like they did in Cincinnati.
"I've been going against him for years now, so we know Andre and we know what it's going to take," Dunlap said. "He's a great player. He's got a very good opportunity with another great team."
And though Smith is now on another team, he has nothing but great things to say about his former coach and the organization that used a first round pick to draft him back in 2009.
“Coach Marvin did a great job raising me, helping me become the man I am today as far as being accountable on the field and off the field and making good decisions,” Smith said via Bengals.com. “I have nothing but love and respect for him. I just want to see him do well.”
The Bengals will get a chance to see Smith in live action on a different NFL team for the first time ever tonight. Even more of interest to Bengals fans will be seeing the man taking over for Smith in Cincinnati, 2015 first round draft pick Cedric Ogbuehi. Ogbuehi was drafted to take over the starting job once Smith left and after sitting out the preseason last year due to ACL recovery, tonight will be the first time he takes the field as a Bengals starter.
Ogbuehi will be one of the most important players to keep an eye on tonight, for however long he’s on the field.