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Dre Kirkpatrick sidelined with hand injury at Bengals OTAs

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Kirkpatrick has his hand wrapped as the Bengals open OTAs.

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Bengals are back on the field for Organized Training Activities (OTAs), but cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick is unable to participate.

Fresh off a massive contract extension, Kirkpatrick has a hand injury that’s keeping him from joining his teammates in practice (*update below). Though, he is still there, and helping 2016 first round pick William Jackson III get up to speed.

Kirkpatrick is coming off his best season as a pro and just his second year as a full-time starter. Originally drafted out of Alabama with the 17th-overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, Kirkpatrick endured a few bad seasons early on, in which he was either on the bench or was a liability as a backup.

A big reason why was because Kirkpatrick had trouble staying healthy and consistently practice enough to receive significant snaps in games. That included last offseason when he had shoulder surgery that slowed him in training camp and the preseason. He got off to a rough start, but Kirkpatrick finished strong and earned a five-year deal this offseason.

In 15 games played last season (14 games started), Kirkpatrick registered 46 tackles, three interceptions and 10 pass deflections. He finished as Pro Football Focus’ 53rd-ranked corner out of 112 eligible players. Though Kirkpatrick still has his lapses and can be a liability against smaller, shiftier receivers, he’s also shown he can play at a high level.

Being that he only has two seasons as a full-time starter under his belt, there’s reason to believe Kirkpatrick will get better during the course of his new deal, as long as he can stay healthy.

Seeing Kirkpatrick already banged up this offseason and missing OTAs is slightly concerning, though, as long as he’s back for training camp, this will be easily forgotten. Hopefully his hand injury is something minor and the team is just being precautious with it. With Kirkpatrick off-the-field younger guys like William Jackson III, Keivarae Russell and Darqueze Dennard will get more snaps and practice opportunities.

Update:

Kirkpatrick’s injury is a fracture in his right hand and he should be ready to participate in OTAs next week, and fully practice in training camp, per Joe Danneman.