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Bengals wide receivers react to Brandon LaFell’s release while readying to step up

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What is LaFell’s legacy on this group and how will they move forward without him?

Cincinnati Bengals v Denver Broncos Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

Brandon LaFell’s sudden departure from the Bengals’ roster was not only surprising to his fans, but his teammates as well.

“It was shocking you know,” Tyler Boyd told reporters before Thursday’s practice. “None of us knew. None of us had an idea, didn’t have a feeling so it was just mind-blowing.”

LaFell was a seasoned veteran who had a major impact on the team’s young wide receivers.

“I’ve learned a lot from him,” explained Alex Erickson. “Obviously the foundation, the way he works every day at practice, comes out along with A.J., you know those two guys were the vets in the room the guys that us young players coming in we watched everything that they did we learned everything, tried to learn as much as they were teaching us and all that stuff. Just the selflessness he had to always help me out, that’s something I’ll always remember, and just the person that he is and the character he has.”

The news didn’t sit well with the team’s remaining veteran wide receiver, A.J. Green, but Green understands where the move came from.

“It’s gonna be tough but you know like I said man the business side sucks ‘cause you form these relationships, and the next day, it could be gone like I said the young guys, they’re ready to play right now,” Green said about the situation.

When asked about being the old man in the room and if the young guys helped him keep his edge Green replied, “Nah I ain’t an old man.” Green added, “I’ve had the juice for a long time it ain’t going nowhere no time soon I intended to keep doing what I’ve been doing.”

The group admits that it will not be easy to replace LaFell. “He knew every spot on the offense and you could plug him in anywhere,” said Green.

Not many players can handle such an all-encompassing role on an offense physically or mentally. “You don’t replace Brandon LaFell with one guy,” said Erickson.

Boyd knows they all need to do their jobs and stated that, “Everybody wants to do their role, and guys definitely need to step up.”

Although the young wide receivers hate to see LaFell go, they are not concerned about a lack of leadership in the group.

“Obviously A.J. is still the cornerstone the guy that sets the tempo for us the guy that we all follow, and I don’t... that’s obviously not going to change,” Erickson said.

Green is ready to step up, but knows that LaFell had some different strengths than he does.

“He’s more vocal than I am,” Green said. “I’m more of a quiet guy so he was talking to the young guys more just taking them under his wing because you know he’s a very friendly guy, and he wanted the young guys to learn, so we’re gonna miss that about him.”

The young wide receivers have been impressive so far during camp. When asked about Boyd’s camp Green’s eyes got really big.

“He’s having an unbelievable camp! The way you know you can tell he’s comfortable he’s comfortable in this offense, he’s comfortable catching the ball, you know he’s not thinking too much he’s just going out there and playing.”

Erickson is excited about the competition within the group.

“Competition is lifting for everybody ‘cause we all see guys making plays, and we want to be the next guy that makes that play, and so it’s a healthy competition.” Erickson continued. “It’s a competition that we know we’re obviously competing for however many spots there are gonna be, and we’re all pushing each other, and at the end of the day, we’re all getting better, and that’s making the Bengals better, and it’s making you better as an individual,”

Boyd is also feeding off the energy in the group.

“You know every guy has shown, putting big plays out there making huge plays,” Boyd said. “Based on everybody making those plays everyone wants to do that so just making the competition even much higher you know it’s making guys even do greater things. You know, it bring the best out of everybody so that’s something that I love being around and being a part of.”