While nearly everything has changed for the Cincinnati Bengals since the squad first appeared on "Hard Knocks" in 2009, a fundamental truth about HBO's training camp insider series remains the same: 50-plus minute episodes provide plenty of opportunities to see the softer side of NFL's gladiators. We collected the best from this week's episode.
Andy Dalton's marriage is even stronger than his core!
Who needs a Super Bowl ring when you have a wedding ring?!
Running back Giovani Bernard shares!
Someone is already planning for a big family!
It really upsets Gio's teammates to see him get picked on!
Rookie Bruce Taylor has fallen! Oopsie!
Running backs coach Hue Jackson sending in a play call: Love!
Safety Taylor Mays excels in the cuddle zone!
The point of this scene is that Domata Peko takes his grooming very seriously!
When a coach pays a "bed check" to offensive tackle Andre Smith, he finds Smith sitting alone, at the end of his bed, in complete darkness, save for the glow of his hotel television, contemplating the parallels between drag cars bursting from the line and himself from scrimmage—is he merely a vehicle, something tooled and tinkered with to optimize performance despite the ever-present risk of disaster, and if so, what then is the true cosmic significance of pancake blocking Houston linebacker Nick Cushing to make way for a game-winning Benjarvus Green-Ellis touchdown run in the AFC Wild Card Round if all he's truly doing is heading down that drag strip once again, a man without a finish line, the only true end the one place he never wants to reach.
Marvin Lewis treasures his friends!
SI's Richard Deitsch witnessed all the knocks, both soft and hard, firsthand in Cincinnati, and recounted the experience on SI Now: