In the week prior to leaving for Los Angeles for Super Bowl LVI, the Cincinnati Bengals practiced at the University of Cincinnati’s indoor practice facility to avoid adverse weather conditions. The team is hoping to have its own indoor facility for future Super Bowl runs.
Bengals executive vice president Katie Blackburn confirmed the team’s plans to build an indoor practice facility sometime in the near future. The Bengals are one of only a handful of teams that currently do not have one and are the most-northern NFL franchise that does not have one.
“We are considering ways to make that happen, so I should be more up to speed,” Blackburn said, via Kelsey Conway of The Cincinnati Enquirer. “But we are definitely looking to plan for that. … We’re looking actively at some things. It’s something we realize would be good for us to have, so we’re trying to find out ways.”
While the temperature in Cincinnati begins to dip around the midway point of the season, the league’s extended regular season further highlights the Bengals’ need for their own indoor practice facility. The fact that they have a team and a quarterback — Joe Burrow — who plan on having several deep playoff runs in coming seasons doesn’t hurt, either.
“We plan on needing it all the way to February,” Blackburn said.
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A historically frugal franchise, the Bengals have been much more aggressive in recent years as it relates to spending money on players. Their willingness to financially invest in their homegrown players (Joe Mixon, Sam Hubbard and Tyler Boyd are examples of this) and several skilled free agents (such as Trey Hendrickson, B.J. Hill and Mike Hilton) helped produce the franchise’s best season since 1988. The 2021 Bengals won the franchise’s first division title since 2015, their first playoff game since 1990, their first-ever road playoff game and the organization’s third AFC championship.
Last year’s team came up just short of delivering the franchise’s first Vince Lombardi Trophy to Cincinnati, suffering a 23-20 loss to the Rams in Super Bowl LVI. The Bengals quickly addressed their biggest weakness — offensive line play — in free agency by signing veteran linemen La’el Collins, Alex Cappa and Ted Karras. The Bengals also gave Burrow a new weapon in Hayden Hurst, who will replace C.J. Uzomah (who signed a three-year deal with the Jets) as Cincinnati’s primary tight end.
Jessie Bates III’s contract remains the biggest item the team has yet to fully address this offseason. While it has yet to come to terms on a long-term contract, Cincinnati bought themselves an additional four months of time by placing the franchise tag on its veteran safety before the start of the new league year. The two sides have until 4 p.m. on July 15 to come to terms on a long-term deal before the start of the 2022 season.