CINCINNATI — Bengals minicamp is over just hours after it began.
After three weeks of OTA practices, the team was set to be on the field for three straight days this week for minicamp. Instead, head coach Zac Taylor ended the offseason program early.
"We had a really successful offseason. We got nine really good OTA days in and we just finished up that minicamp practice today, and I know we were scheduled for [two more days of practice], but I told the players that they're done. We've completed the offseason program," Taylor said. "We got a lot out of it. Our attendance was awesome. So hats off to those guys. I thought we really improved ourselves as a team and we've told those guys that the offseason program has concluded until training camp."
That means players are free to leave town and come back for training camp, which will likely begin on July 26.
Taylor said he had two reasons why he opted to end minicamp earlier than expected.
"First and foremost guys have really shown up and done everything we asked them to do. We've had tremendous attendance throughout and got a lot accomplished," Taylor said. "We could have gone another day or two, but I really felt good about the health of our team and where we're at right now.
"Secondly, one of the things that is really going to help us in training camp is the more guys that we can get vaccinated, so we've offered several opportunities for our players to get it done here in the stadium. We had a fair number of our players [on Monday] who said they would get it [Wednesday]. I said, 'hey, we're well on our way to making life pretty easy for ourselves in training camp in terms of scheduling and all the protocols.' That combined with the work we've gotten done we decided to move on until training camp."
Star safety Jessie Bates is expecting the team to have at least 85% of players vaccinated for COVID-19 before training camp. That's the threshold they have to hit to have in person meetings based on the NFL's latest protocols.
"I'm not sure about the exact number, but we are very close," Bates said. "I think that's what we got rewarded with going hope a little early. I think we're on the right path."
Watch highlights of Tuesday's practice below.
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