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Perhaps the most notable free agent signing that the Bengals made this year was in former New England Patriots running back, BenJarvus Green-Ellis. He has been a productive NFL back since going undrafted four years ago, but unfortunately has been stuck with the label of not being a "breakaway back" or being capable of generating big plays. One thing that can't be denied is his nose for the end zone, as he's racked up 24 rushing touchdowns in the last two seasons.
Geoff Hobson, the Editor-In-Chief at bengals.com, caught up with "The Law Firm" in the Bengals locker room on Monday as the team checked in for their first offseason workout. Aside from being assigned the new jersey number of 34, Green-Ellis has a chip on his shoulder and has something to prove to everyone.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis, freshly arrived from the Patriots and assigned number 34 instead of his 42 in New England says he doesn't want to be seen as a one-dimensional back that can only help in the red zone and on goal line and short yardage.
"I'm looking at all three downs," he said.
It's a great mindset for the apparent feature back of the 2012 offense. It's unclear at this point as to the specific role that he'll have with the club, as offensive coordinator Jay Gruden has made it known that he wants a committee system at the position. I'm sure that they made that known to Green-Ellis when they courted him during free agency. Still, that's not stopping the veteran from wanting the ball.
For those that knock Green-Ellis for not making enough big plays, he does bring a couple of aspects that the team hasn't had at the position for the last two seasons: the ability to get the tough yards and the penchant for not putting the ball on the ground. For a team that failed to convert a lot of red zone opportunities to touchdowns last season, a guy like Green-Ellis is a very welcomed addition.
We're still fairly certain that the team will be drafting a running back at some point next weekend. We don't know in what round or which players they've narrowed their search to, but it's a safe assumption that another youngster will be headed to this new running back committee. Whether it's a guy to complement Green-Ellis or a guy with a similar skill set to "The Law Firm", there will be competition for carries. Either way, it sounds as if that won't stop the new guy with the new number from working on being "the guy" in Cincinnati.