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Rashaun Simonise talks Bengals training camp, learning the playbook

Rashaun Simonise has the size and speed needed to become a quality NFL wide receiver. It's up to him to capitalize on that potential, learn the playbook and acclimate to the NFL game after playing mostly CFL-style football.

The Bengals are looking for new faces to step up at wide receiver in 2016, one of which being former University of Calgary star Rashaun Simonise.

Entering his rookie season, Simonise is attempting to make the rare jump from Canadian college football to the NFL, and the Bengals will give him a shot to do so. Simonise signed with the Bengals after not being selected in the 2016 NFL Supplemental Draft and has gotten to work on learning the Bengals' playbook ever since.

Simonise opted to enter the supplemental draft this year after academic issues caused him to be ineligible to play college football this season. That came after Simonise racked up 1,079 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns in eight games during his junior season.

While Canadian football leagues tend to be more offensive-driven than today's NFL, those are still good numbers for a Canadian college wideout. It's still been a tough transition for Simonise acclimating to the NFL, but he's just enjoyed in the process that he's blessed to have.

"Man, it was a blessing," Simonise said of his first NFL practice, via "It was a great experience coming out here with the guys and getting up to speed on things. The transition is a little bit tough, but that's just something I've gotta deal with, getting into the playbook and getting my plays, cause I'm a little bit behind because I didn't participate in the minicamp, but it's just something I've gotta focus on."

At 6'5" and 190 pounds, Simonise reportedly ran the 40-yard dash in 4.42 seconds, while posting a 35-inch vertical and a 10-foot broad jump at his Pro Day in July. That speaks to the kind of NFL athleticism he possesses, but even a world-class athlete can look like he's wearing cement shoes if he doesn't know the playbook.

"That would probably be the toughest part, as well as transitioning it into practices, and going drill to drill, the tempo and everything," Simonise said of learning the playbook. "That would probably be the hardest thing to learn, but I'm catching on pretty quick, so that's good."

As it stands, Simonise is part of one of the more intriguing roster battles of this year at wide receiver. It already won't be a surprise to see an undrafted free agent like Jake KumerowAlex Erickson or Alonzo Russell make the 53-man roster, so Simonise may have a shot at doing the same.

That opportunity to make the 53-man roster was what drew Simonise to sign with the Bengals after not being selected in the supplemental draft, but he also said the culture and chance to grow into an NFL player was something Cincinnati presented to him better than other teams.

"The Bengals weren't one of the teams heavily looking at me, but before the draft happened, Coach Lewis called me and said that he was interested in me, but he wasn't gonna draft me, and if I didn't get drafted, he would like to sign me as a free agent," Simonise said. "I didn't end up getting drafted, and that's exactly what happened, so I felt like this was the best place for me, and the best possible situation for an NFL career."

If nothing else, Simonise would be a good candidate for the practice squad to sit and develop for a year or two. While you can only take so much from his college highlights, the potential is clearly there with Simonise, so hopefully the Bengals find a way to harness it.

"The goal is obviously to make the 53-man roster, so that's definitely my first goal going forward," Simonise said of his ultimate goal with the Bengals. "So I'm going to do whatever I can do to achieve that goal, and we'll see what happens."

Be sure to listen to his full interview with