Billy Price was drafted to play center for the Bengals. However, Tre Hopkins shined at his position, which allowed the third-year player to move back to guard, the position he played his first three years at the Ohio State University.
In his first two years, Price battled a number of injuries. But his recent work with Duke Manyweather has him feeling healthier than ever, he told us in an exclusive interview. Combined with his strong finish playing right guard last year, all signs point to Price finding his footing in the NFL and showing fans why he was drafted in the first round of the 2018 Draft.
“I was a first round pick in 2018, and that’s not something I take lightly at all,” Price said.
In January, Price went to Dallas, Texas to work with Manyweather, who gave him a full evaluation. “Within a week and a half, my back was fixed,” said the guard. In fact, it appears it was not even a back injury but rather hip tightness. He’s now doing what he calls “preventative maintenance” to avoid another foot injury. He said his feet and his mental health are now “fantastic.”
He looks forward to his new role and mentioned that playing right guard comes naturally to him. Matt Minich agreed and pointed to Price’s Week 16 performance against the Miami Dolphins as his most impressive game. The guard said that a big factor is the continuity on the line, who he is playing beside. In that particular game, he was in coordination with Hopkins, and so their play was “smooth like butter.” They continue to be in touch during the offseason to preserve that strong chemistry.
Chemistry is the key to the offensive line outperforming expectations, according to Price. He is glad the team finally has some stability in that department and is excited about new additions Xavier Su’a-Filo and Hakeem Adeniji, both of whom he has worked with before. Regarding Adeniji, he said, “He’s a smart one. He’s got that nastiness in him. Strong kid, very smart kid.”
Playing with four former Buckeyes will also help the team assert its identity. “It’s like meeting old friends,” Price said, as he practiced with all of them while at Ohio State. He specifically mentioned that the familiarity he gained with Joe Burrow will be a big asset when they take the field together.
Price talked about emerging leaders on the Bengals, saying that running back Joe Mixon continued to motivate players even when it seemed things were falling apart. “He’s the first guy to talk about things, the first guy checking people to hold them accountable,” Price said. “That’s the leader in the locker room. That’s my guy.” He also mentioned that Bobby Hart has functioned as a leader on the offensive line. Price said concerning his strong performance against the Dolphins, “Every stretch block that we did in practice, he was always on me,” reminding him of important techniques.
Price is confident that the team is about to turn it around, thanks to coach Zac Taylor’s ability to put players in position to succeed. He noted that the running game began to show what it is capable of in London against the Los Angeles Rams. “Things just took off. The coaches made some changes, did some things,” he said. “It makes it exciting for the guys in that organization, in the facility, that everyday you go to work for somebody who’s going to go out and help you and make sure you’re performing the best.”