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Bengals center Billy Price cleared to run; already showing signs of being a great leader

Billy Price still isn’t fully cleared from his partially-torn pectoral injury, but he has been cleared to run and participate in light drills. Although, he is trying so hard that he had Mike Brown scared.

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals-Billy Price Press Conference Cincinnati Enquirer-USA TODAY NETWORK

Billy Price is already setting the example of being a first round pick, and it is only rookie minicamp. The Bengals’ first round draft pick stayed on the field longer than anyone else on Saturday. What makes it more impressive is that he is still recovering from the partially-torn pec that he suffered at the NFL Scouting Combine while participating in the bench press.

Price was running through drills for which Bengals offensive line coach Frank Pollack created a walk-through on how the offensive line should react to certain defenses. There wasn’t contact, but Price was pushing enough that owner Mike Brown was concerned over his most recent first round pick’s health.

Going so hard that the owner gets worried seems like one way for Price to earn the respect of his fellow players. Price still is catching up as far as the terminology and system go, but that is to be expected considering the rookies stepped onto the field for the first time in Cincinnati this weekend.

“I’ve been speaking French and now I’m speaking Spanish,” Price told Geoff Hobson of “We did nothing like Coach Pollack is doing (here) at Ohio State. Nothing. For me right now it’s a struggle, but it’s going to get better. I’m trying to pick it up faster. We’re looking at certain alignments and the different variations that can come off of that.”

Again, it is super early. This is basically Price’s first experience with the system, so not getting it all down in a couple of days is normal for every rookie. The big thing is Price was actually able to get on the field and run some drills. Even when he wasn’t involved since he can’t make contact, he was near the huddle and listening to the calls and watching it play out. This is as good news as we could have hoped for with Price, considering his injury.

This should quickly catch the attention of the veterans when the entire team starts taking the field together on May 22. It also helps set the bar for the rest of the rookies for the kind of effort they have to put in to be a productive member of this team. It is hard to believe Price is only a rookie.

It would’ve been easy for Price to stand on the sidelines and watch his teammates practicing. He is rehabbing and the expectation was that he wouldn’t take the field until training camp. This effort shows that Price has all the makings to be a serious leader for this Bengals for years to come.

Price won’t actually be able to take on a defender until training camp, but the way he carried himself during rookie minicamp helped show why the Bengals were so excited to bring him as a first round draft pick.

“Respect is a big thing for me, I came as a first round draft pick, OK that’s great, but there’s 40 something guys out here trying to make the team.” Price told Jeremy Rauch of FOX19, “and I’m trying to make the team as well... You still got to work just like everybody else. For me, I came from Youngstown, Ohio, again, you shut your mouth and you go to work.”

We love that attitude.