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Dre Kirkpatrick, Andre Smith participating at Bengals OTAs

The Bengals got two of their veterans back for this week’s round of offseason workouts.

Cincinnati Bengals v Houston Texans Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

The Cincinnati Bengals are back in town for another round of OTAs.

The big story this week so far is the return of Dre Kirkpatrick during Tuesday’s session. The veteran cornerback had been sidelined thus far while recovering from a broken hand. It’s unclear how Kirkpatrick suffered the injury, but it was never believed to be serious enough to sideline him for too long.

Kirkpatrick didn’t get in a full workload, however, as it appears his hand is still fragile enough that the team doesn’t want to a risk another injury.

Seeing Kirkpatrick back on the field just two weeks after the injury was first reported is great to see. The Bengals need his leadership and experience to help lead this secondary in 2017, not to mention become a leader of the entire defense.

With guys like Domata Peko and Rey Maualuga departing this offseason, Kirkpatrick is now one of the longest-tenured players on this defense. He’s also one of the most tenured players in a secondary that has only Adam Jones having been here longer.

Did we mention Jones is facing a possible NFL suspension this year? That means Kirkpatrick needs to take on an even bigger leadership role to help make up for the loss of Jones if he’s out, not to mention replace Jones when he’s cut or retires in the coming years.

The Bengals got more good news Tuesday with the return of Andre Smith.

The veteran offensive lineman was absent for the most recent round of OTAs due to bronchitis. He’s projected to start at right guard following the loss of Kevin Zeitler this offseason.

Smith’s career thus far has been spent at right tackle, though the Bengals feel better about Jake Fisher starting there and having Smith inside. If, however, Fisher struggles with that role, perhaps the Bengals will move Smith back to his more natural spot at right tackle.

There’s also the possibility that Fisher ends up being the best option at left tackle this year. Cedric Ogbuehi is expected to start there, but he has yet to show he’s a starting-caliber NFL tackle, so perhaps Fisher at the left tackle and Smith at right tackle ends up being the best combination. These are some of the storylines that we’ll see playing out during the next few months.