The Cincinnati Bengals fixed their main problem in free agency by signing Ted Karras and Alex Cappa. They further aided Joe Burrow’s protection by bringing in star lineman La’el Collins.
The trio will be a huge improvement for the Bengals over their starting line a season ago. However, on top of adding linemen, the Bengals quickly fixed a need they didn’t even foreseeable a need — a starting tight end.
Cincinnati signed former Atlanta Falcons tight end Hayden Hurst.
Hurst will likely battle former second-round pick Drew Sample for the starting spot as well and both have ample reason to be seen as the starter. Nonetheless, Hurst is just thankful to be with Cincinnati, specifically because of head coach Zac Taylor.
Hayden Hurst makes a point about how “refreshing” it is to deal with an “authentic” coach like Zac Taylor #Bengals— Mike Petraglia (@Trags) March 18, 2022
There’s quite a bit to unpack there — including a small slight on former coaches. Hurst played in 13 games, starting 5 for the Falcons last season. He totaled 26 receptions on just 31 targets, totaling 221 receiving yards.
Hurst is ready to step into the role vacated by C.J. Uzomah, who took his talent to New York and will play for the Jets in 2022.
“People forget how quick I am. I was the 25th pick in the draft for a reason. I showed what I could do in a starting role in Atlanta in 2020. C.J. is an incredible player. He did tremendous things in Cincinnati. I know I’m stepping into a void. I think I’m more than capable. I showed that in 2020,” Hurst said via Bengals.com’s Geoff Hobson.
As for Hurst praising Taylor, it didn’t just stop at the above.
“(Taylor) is extremely authentic. That’s hard to come by in this business as I’ve found out in my four years in the NFL. It’s very refreshing to hear. Very transparent,” Hurst said.
With Taylor having been on the hot seat prior to the team’s Super Bowl run, hearing that players are in his corner and seeing that on the field during that 2-win 2019 season, should give the Bengals some faith they have the right guy to captain a Super Bowl contender.
Taylor appears to be the Bengals guy for quite a while, and the city, and Hurst, can’t be more excited for it.