Cincinnati Bengals quarterback AJ McCarron has had a busy offseason between training for the 2017 season, opening a sushi restaurant and most recently holding a youth football camp in Mobile, Alabama.
He's also expected to play in the Mobile BayBears' celebrity softball game to benefit Westside Park's Buddy Ball program next week.
In speaking with AL.com this weekend, McCarron discussed his role with the Bengals as "the deck of cards that I've been dealt,” making it clear he’d rather not be a backup any longer and wants his chance to start in the NFL.
"Any time you get out and perform, it's exciting," McCarron said. "You always, as a competitor, want your own team and everything. This is the deck of cards that I've been dealt, and it's just the way it is. But anytime you get a chance to play, you go out there and try to perform to the best of your ability."
McCarron will not be starting in 2017 unless he’s unexpectedly traded or if starter Andy Dalton gets hurt. The life of a backup quarterback in the NFL isn’t always fun, but for now, that’s the role McCarron is going to need to play.
As far as the rest of the team goes, McCarron believes the young group of Bengals are a hungry bunch and he seems excited about the team’s potential in 2017.
"We're going to be young," McCarron said, "but just from seeing the team in the offseason and mandatory minicamp, there's a bunch of hungry guys. It's awesome to see. You can see the youth coming out in the team, and I think it's going to be a special group. I think we have a good shot at surprising a lot of people."
It would probably be better for McCarron to stick to the positive things he has to say about the Bengals and avoid continually letting it be known that he isn’t happy with his role as a backup quarterback.
In April, McCarron shared a similar sentiment in regards to his role on the team.
"I can't control it," McCarron told AL.com. "That's the tough part in this business, but it is what it is. You just focus on what you can control, and everything will work out.”
He also talked about how it’s “fun” to consider getting traded.
"It's fun to think about, but that really just clouds your mind with stuff you don't really want,” he said.
For now, McCarron is expecting to remain with the Bengals as the team’s No. 2 quarterback. What happens in 2018 is more up for debate as the Bengals hope he becomes a restricted free agent, while McCarron’s camp is going to fight for his right to be an unrestricted free agent.