One of the newest Bengals feels like he has something to prove, and for USC LB Rey Maualuga, he will have the ability to take it out on the field for Cincinnati in 2009. Maualuga was passed over by all 32 teams in Saturday’s NFL Draft, and it wasn’t till the Bengals finally nabbed him with the 38th overall pick (6th in the 2nd round), that he knew where his NFL career would begin.
Maualuga’s official NFL career began for real on Friday, as he took the field at Paul Brown Stadium for the Bengals first mini-camp of 2009. He seemed more than ready to show why all those teams that passed on him were wrong. “I’m pretty sure there are people out there that should’ve gone higher, but those days are over,” Maualuga said. “It’s a fresh start and a brand new day to make a first impression on the coaches and the staff.”
The linebacker will have the chance to play with fellow college teammate Keith Rivers, and the two can quickly make an impact for the Bengals as they look to rebound from another down season in 2008. He’s ready to get things going and ready to take his frustration about not going earlier and use that to his advantage.
“I was upset (at not going in the first round) but that was just the immature part of myself. I didn’t think about the team or the fans or everybody out there who are ecstatic that I’m here,” Maualuga said. “I apologize about not being too happy, but I am excited and happy for being here.”
Bengals fans are happy as well. Their newest linebacker spent Friday being used in different spots on the field, and as far as Maualuga is concerned, that’s just fine with him.
“It doesn’t really mater where I play,” Maualuga said. “Just give me a playbook, just give me some pads and a helmet and I’ll go out there and play. I can get adjusted and be fine as far as pass drops and the ability to drop into coverage. Every first day is a little shaky here and there, but you correct your mistakes and everything will be better.”
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