Minicamp notes: Lewis on Smith; Harrison impresses; Jones on the field

Posted Jun 11, 2013

Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis said Tuesday he's pleased with how linebacker James Harrison looks thus far in Bengals team activities.

James Harrison

How best to sum up right tackle Andre Smith’s absence from mandatory minicamp this week? Perhaps it would be “understood but not excused.”

Head coach Marvin Lewis on Tuesday termed it “a minor distraction that Andre won’t be here these three days.”

“He’s dealing with something he’s got to get through,” Lewis told reporters. “We would have hoped he would have been here and picked up on some of the things we felt were good to work on at this point in the year. But he’s got some personal things he’s dealing with. Once we get through a week of training camp (in July), then everything will be good. Right now, we have to focus on and coach the guys we have here.”

Lewis sent the message that Smith will be fined for his absence.

“You are subject to fine when you aren’t here (for the mandatory camp),” Lewis said. “I guess there could be exceptions to that, but in this case I have to do it that way. I have to be fair. I mean, we are not necessarily dealing with a death in the family or your wife having a baby or so forth. I think we all have to make choices once in a while in life that we pay a cost for. There has to be ramifications from this.”

Smith has been the Bengals starting right tackle since midway through the 2010 season, and on April 26, he re-signed with Cincinnati as an unrestricted free agent.

HARRISON IMPRESSES: Lewis said Tuesday he’s pleased with how linebacker James Harrison looks thus far in Bengals team activities.

“James has done great,” Lewis told reporters at Tuesday’s minicamp. “It's been fun. It's what I expected.”

Lewis, a former Steelers assistant coach in the 1990s, cited his familiarity with both Harrison and Pittsburgh’s defensive scheme.
“Obviously I've seen this guy play more football than anybody here,” he said. “I know the things he was asked to do there (Pittsburgh), the wording and the terminology and how things were created. So I thought it was an easy plug-in here.”

And although Harrison comes from Pittsburgh’s 3-4 defensive scheme, Lewis says that may not be as much of a hurdle as some think.

“People get a little bit leery of that because a guy did ‘that’ and you guys do ‘this,’ but it all came from the same principles. It started in the same origin with the same principles.”

Lewis says he’s been the one “driving” the decision to bring in the 2008 NFL Defensive Player of the Year, and according to him, Harrison’s versatility has garnered attention around the building. And that attention is coming from respected sources.

“I think (defensive coordinator) Mike Zimmer has become more and more comfortable with the versatility that he does have and the ability for him to really do more things that I think even Mike envisioned,” he said.

“We see that on the practice tape time and time again.”

JONES ON THE FIELD: Cornerback Adam Jones took part in the opening day of minicamp Tuesday. The seventh-year NFL veteran was arrested Monday by Cincinnati police and charged with one count of assault. Police said Jones allegedly struck a woman on June 5 outside a downtown bar.

Jones’s agent, Peter Schaffer, told the Cincinnati Enquirer that Jones was protecting himself and had not instigated the physical altercation. Schaffer said Jones had declined a request to have his picture taken with two women at the bar.

Bengals management declined official comment, reiterating the club’s standing policy that it is not appropriate to comment on unresolved legal matters.
In his minicamp news conference Tuesday, head coach Marvin Lewis briefly addressed the matter.

“The situation Adam Jones is in obviously is not something you want to get involved in,” Lewis said in his opening remarks. “It’s unfortunate that he’s in this situation. That’s really about all I can add to it. Obviously this has got to work its way out, whatever way it does.”

Jones’s on-field practice time was limited Tuesday, due to soreness from a calf muscle pull that he incurred on May 20, the first day of OTAs.

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