Despite rampant panic in the NFL sphere regarding the quietness from HBO’s Hard Knocks, the show finally has a team to cover. It’s the Cincinnati Bengals, according to Joey Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer.
The show, which is produced by NFL Films, will get fans to see into the Bengals’ training camp for the second time in five seasons, and give USC football fans two players to watch each week: Rey Maualuga and Taylor Mays.
Maualuga was a rookie in 2009 when the show last featured the Bengals, and a lot has changed since then for the winner of the 2008 Bednarik Award. He wasn’t shown too much in the first go around, but with him since becoming a team captain and fresh off of signing a new two-year, $6.5 million contract in the offseason, Maualuga figures to get more air time come training camp.
In 2012, Maualuga was second on the team in tackles behind former USC commit Vontaze Burfict, who has had more success at weakside outside linebacker than the MIKE linebacker role of Maualuga. Given their factor in the Bengals defense and their equally outspoken personalities, the dynamic between the two could be an interesting aspect of the show, should NFL Films decide to highlight them.
As for Taylor Mays, he played in all 16 games with Cincinnati last year, but in a reserve role. The once can’t-miss prospect has had just 70 tackles in three seasons as a professional.
The first episode of Hard Knocks should air during the first week of August on HBO.