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Max Scharping says playing center vs. Packers was ‘the first time I’ve played it in a game’

Max Scharping is on the long road to becoming the most versatile offensive lineman he can be.

Syndication: The Enquirer Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Cincinnati Bengals finally seem to have put a decent offensive line together. After adding Orlando Brown Jr. to be the team’s left tackle and flipping Jonah Williams to right tackle, it has seemingly solidified the starting five.

Now the question becomes, who else of these offensive linemen will make the team?

The easiest way for an offensive lineman to make a roster is to be as versatile as possible. That is something the team is seeing they can push with offensive lineman Max Scharping.

This offseason, Cincinnati has had the four-year veteran take snaps at center. Previously, he has played some offensive tackle but mostly guard for the Houston Texans. This would give Scharping the rare edge of possibly being able to sub in at all five positions in an emergency.

To be clear, though, this is the spot Scharping is the least experienced in.

How inexperienced?

Well, he talked about it with Bengals broadcaster Dan Hoard at Monday’s practice:

“The first preseason game was the first time I’ve played it in a game,” he said. “Thankfully, they let me play guard in the first quarter so I could get the jitters out.”

Safe to say he is far from gunning for Ted Karras’ spot as the starter. Scharping is probably in more of a battle with Trey Hill for the backup spot realistically.

The Bengals seem to be doing everything in their power to justify keeping Scharping on this roster. They have quite a few guys who can play some version of offensive tackle and guard, including Jackson Carman, D’Ante Smith, Hakeem Adeniji, Cody Ford, La’el Collins (when he returns from injury), and even undrafted rookie Jaxson Kirkland. That is an astounding amount of names for that role. Scharping adding this to his resume may make the difference on the bubble.

Scharping will likely have plenty of reps in the preseason to show whether he can be relied upon for the backup center role, as the Bengals really don’t play their starters in the preseason. We will see how he does in his second game this Friday.