Irv Smith finding his groove with Bengals
The Bengals signed Irv Smith Jr. to be their starting tight end, replacing Hayden Hurst. Smith has not disappointed thus far.
Quarterback Joe Burrow has noted Smith’s work ethic in the film room alongside tight ends coach James Casey, with Smith pushing the younger tight ends.
“A lot of hard work has been put in behind closed doors that people don’t get to see,” Smith said, via Mohammad Ahmad of cleveland.com. “But that’s the blessing to have that confidence in yourself. People can pump you up but you have to want it from within.”
Smith spent four seasons with Kirk Cousins in Minnesota, catching 91 passes for 858 yards and nine touchdowns in the three seasons he played. (Smith spent 2021 on injured reserve.)
He is developing a rapport with Burrow, who he played against once while he was at Alabama and the quarterback was at LSU.
“Playing against Joe in college and following his career, and seeing the success he’s had from afar, it’s been really cool just as a fan of football to watch that,” Smith said. “So, to be his teammate and earning his trust, those type of things take time. It takes time to build that confidence and trust with one another.”
Smith and Burrow are spending time getting to know one another. They hope that pays off during the season for an offense that is expected to be one of the league’s best.