The Bengals were treated to the sight of a familiar face on Tuesday when wide receiver Tyler Boyd jogged out to practice for the first time this offseason.
Boyd, now the longest-tenured Bengal who is set to embark on his eighth NFL season in 2023, had spent the past few weeks back in his hometown of Pittsburgh, taking advantage of the voluntary portion of the team's offseason program to enjoy time with his daughter. But as the optional training schedule entered its seventh week, the veteran slot savant and vocal locker room presence couldn't wait any longer to see his secondary family.
"I wanted to come around and bring camaraderie," Boyd said. "I missed the guys. Even though I was away spending time with my family, quality time with my daughter, I just felt empty not being around my guys and being there for them."
Having now been through numerous offseason programs, Boyd understands what is required from both a physical and mental standpoint when returning to the field. Particularly this week, as the Bengal rookies continue to find their footing, he appreciates the knowledge that can only be gained through years of experience.
"The difference between now and then, I'm just a little more seasoned," Boyd said. "I know what to expect, I know how to practice, how to prepare for each day, each phase of football. That part, I think I've got down. Even the leadership quality that I have - I go out there and critique guys. I don't want to go out there and show them or just say it. I'm going to go out there and communicate with them, talk to them a little bit, try to get them comfortable.
The Bengals' mandatory minicamp doesn't begin until mid-June, but Boyd saw this as an opportunity to get back in the mix of a culture that he had a large hand in building over the past seven seasons.
"Guys were just excited for me to be around. I bring a lot of juice to this team, and just having my presence felt, I think that amps guys up. This is the biggest family that I have.
"It felt good being around and seeing the guys, it brings me that life again."